The British Psychological Society has welcomed the Office of National Statistics (ONS) programme aiming to measure the nation's well-being. Responding to a national consultation (closing date 15 April) the Society commented that well-being amounts to more than mere happiness, and involves a wide range of personal and social domains. Psychologists also commented that positive relationships and a sense of meaning and purpose in life are crucial to genuine well-being.
The ONS consultation is part of an overall programme to develop new measures of national well- being. These are intended to cover the quality of life of people in the UK, the environment and sustainability as well as economic performance. The ONS is seeking views on what well- being means and how it is affected both for the individual and the nation overall.
Peter Kinderman said: "The ONS programme to measure the nation's well-being is a very positive, but very complex, exercise. To plan Government policy purely on economic indicators such as GDP seems inadequate, so the development of an additional index of well-being is wise. However, accurately measuring this is difficult as well-being covers a wide range of our lives, including areas such as relationships, autonomy and meaning and purpose. Also the questions appear to target people of working age with relatively few addressing issues relating to the oldest and youngest generations."
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