Using the Gallup Well-Being Poll to Characterize the Correlational Profile of the Most Widely Used Well-Being Items for Public Policy

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Governments are increasingly interested in measuring psychological well-being. The U.K. Office for National Statistics (ONS) has suggested four essential survey items (ONS4) to be included broadly, capturing evaluative (life satisfaction), experienced (positive and negative affect) and eudaimonic (worthwhile life) well-being components. We identified the questions most similar to the ONS4 in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index and explored their covariates in a representative sample of 46,179 U.S. adults collected between 2013 and 2016. We determined the relative importance of a wide range of demographic, economic, health and behavioral covariates, while simultaneously adjusting for all other ones. We found old age, physical and mental health status and spending time socially to be the most important covariates. We observed pronounced specificity in the relationship between the covariates and the four well-being components: High income is almost exclusively associated with higher life satisfaction, while loneliness is predominantly associated with lower positive affect. Poor health affects all non-eudaimonic well-being domains, while old age reduces negative emotion and increases life satisfaction. These results stress the importance of measuring the evaluative, affective, eudaimonic well-being dimensions.


well-being, covariates, public policy, evaluative well-being, affective well-being, eudaimonic well-being


Health/Wellness, Well-being/Flourishing


Empirical Study

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Date Posted: 29 January 2018