Towards a greater global understanding of wellbeing: A proposal for a more inclusive measure


  • Louise Lambert United Arab Emirates University Box 15551 Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
  • Tim Lomas University of East London, AE3.23, Stratford Campus, University of East London, E15 4LZ
  • Margot P van de Weijer Department of Biological Psychology, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands/ Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Amsterdam University Medical Center, Amsterdam
  • Holli Anne Passmore University of Derby, Derby, UK. Human Sciences Research Centre, University of Derby, Keddleston Road Derby, United Kingdom DE22 1GB phone: +44 1332 597762
  • Mohsen Joshanloo Centre for Positive Psychology, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Level 2, 100 Leicester Street, Carlton, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010
  • Jim Harter Gallup, The Gallup Building 901 F Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20004
  • Yoshiki Ishikawa Well-Being for Planet Earth Foundation (previously called the LiFull Foundation), Tokyo, Japan
  • Alden Lai Department of Public Health Policy & Management, New York University College of Global Public Health also Department of Management & Organizations, New York University Stern School of Business
  • Takuya Kitagawa
  • Dominique Chen
  • Takafumi Kawakami
  • Hiroaki Miyata
  • Ed Diener University of Virginia & University of Utah, United States



positive psychology, wellbeing, hedonia, eudaimonia, life satisfaction, culture


The science of wellbeing has come a long way from the early days of measuring wellbeing via a nation’s GDP, and wellbeing measures and concepts continue to proliferate to capture its various elements. Yet, much of this activity has reflected concepts from Western cultures, despite the emphasis placed on wellbeing in all corners of the globe. To meet the challenges and opportunities arising from cross-disciplinary research worldwide, the Well-Being for Planet Earth Foundation and the Gallup World Poll have joined forces to add more culturally relevant constructs and questions to existing Gallup modules. In this white paper, we review the discussion from the international well-being summit in Kyoto, Japan (August 2019), where nine such additions were proposed and highlight why a more global view of wellbeing is needed. Overall, the new items reflect a richer view of wellbeing than life satisfaction alone and include hedonic and eudaimonic facets of wellbeing, social wellbeing, the role of culture, community, nature, and governance. These additions allow for the measurement of a broader conceptualization of wellbeing, more refined and nuanced cross-cultural comparisons, and facilitate a better examination of the causes of variation in global wellbeing. The new Gallup World Poll additions will be trialled in 2020, with additional inclusions from this summit to be made in 2021.


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