National Accounts of Subjective Well-Being

Conference: 2015 CCSME Annual Membership Meeting | A Changing Landscape: How National Trends in Behavioral Health Affect Your Practice

Tuesday, Nov 17, 2015
University of Southern Maine, Portland Workshop/Presentation: Keynote
Ed Diener, Shigehiro Oishi, and Richard E. Lucas

Diener (2000) proposed that National Accounts of Well-Being be created to complement existing economic and social indicators that reflect the quality of life in nations. These national accounts can provide valuable information to policymakers and other leaders. Systematic measurement of subjective well-being provides novel information about the quality of life in societies, and it allows for the accumulation of detailed information regarding the circumstances that are associated with high subjective well-being. Thus, accounts of subjective well-being can help decision makers evaluate policies that improve societies beyond economic development. Progress with well-being accounts has been notable: Prestigious scientific and international institutions have recommended the creation of such national accounts, and these recommendations have been adopted in some form in over 40 nations. In addition, increasing research into policy-relevant questions reveals the importance of the accounts for policy. Psychologists can enlarge their role in the formulation and adoption of policies by actively studying and using accounts of subjective well-being to evaluate and support the policies they believe are needed.