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Well-Being of Planet Earth Ed Diener Smiley Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of Illinois Senior Scientist, Gallup 4 th European Conference.

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Presentation on theme: "Well-Being of Planet Earth Ed Diener Smiley Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of Illinois Senior Scientist, Gallup 4 th European Conference."— Presentation transcript:

1 Well-Being of Planet Earth Ed Diener Smiley Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of Illinois Senior Scientist, Gallup 4 th European Conference on Positive Psychology July 1- 4, 2008 Rijeka, Croatia

2 My Gratitude to: The Gallup Organization

3 Gallup World Poll First Survey of Planet Earth 130+ nations Representative samples 130,000+ respondents Rural areas sampled –The best poll of world ever taken Represents 96% of globe’s population

4 Objective conditions? Have gone hungry this year24% Cannot afford housing21% Smoked yesterday21% Unemployed13% Assaulted past year 8% Infant morality 4% Life expectancy68 years

5 Modern conveniences: Running water in home72% Electricity in home83% T.V. in home74% Computer in home26%

6 Signs for optimism, yet Need for improvement! -- Most evident in juxtaposing nations

7 Cannot Afford Housing Finland 3 % Ireland 4 % United Kingdom 6 % Switzerland 8 % Denmark 9 % Germany10 % France11 % Spain13 % Belarus40 % Sierra Leone62 %

8 Striking Disparities! Longevity Japan 82 yearsBotswana 36 years Smoking Nigeria 5%Cuba 39% Assaulted Past Year Japan.4%Burundi 33% Gone Hungry Past Year Austria.4%Chad 78%

9 How are we doing on Subjective Well-being? Ladder of life Positive Emotions Negative Emotions Satisfaction with Important Domains

10 0: Worst Possible Life 10: Best Possible Life

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12 High on Ladder Denmark8.0 Switzerland7.5 Netherlands7.5 Canada7.4 New Zealand7.3 United States7.2 Venezuela7.2

13 Lowest Life Ladder Togo3.2 Cambodia3.6 Sierra Leone3.6 Georgia3.7 Zimbabwe3.8 West Bank4.7

14 More Europe U.K.7.0 Italy 6.9 Germany 6.6 Czech. Rep.6.4 Greece6.1 Poland 5.6 Croatia5.4 Portugal5.4 Serbia4.6 Albania4.6

15 Affect Yesterday Unpleasant Emotions –Anger –Sad and depressed –Worried and stressed Pleasant Emotions –Enjoyment –Smiling and laughing

16 Pleasant Emotions—Enjoyment etc. High Low New Zealand Armenia HondurasPakistan PanamaBangladesh Costa RicaPalestine Puerto RicoTajikistan

17 Unpleasant Emotions— Sad, Angry, Depressed, etc. HighestLowest ArmeniaDenmark PalestineSweden BoliviaAustria Sierra LeoneJapan Percent feelings lots yesterday ~ 40 % ~ 13 %

18 Satisfaction with domains (Health, standard of living, city, job) HighLow Denmark Zimbabwe Switzerland Haiti Singapore Tanzania

19 Dissatisfied with Standard of Living Ukraine Georgia Romania Russia Zimbabwe Most satisfied: Ireland

20 Planetary SWB Scorecard Evaluating life 40 percent dissatisfied 40 percent doing fine 20 percent doing very well Affect Balance (PA – NA) 20 % negative 30 % positive 50 % very positive

21 What Predicts the Good Society?

22 Ladder of Life evaluation correlates with: GDP per person (wealth) r =.83 Meeting basic needs (food etc.) r =.77

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24 Does Anything Cause Quality of Life Other than Money?

25 Beyond Money: Predicting National Levels of Ladder of Life Regression Betas GDP/Capita.43 Optimism.37 Can count on others.25

26 Beyond Money: Predicting National Positive Emotions (Betas – all but GDP significant) GDP/capita -.03 Count on someone for help.18 Freedom to choose.26 Learned something yesterday.68

27 Beyond Money: Nation-level Unpleasant Emotions Betas Income.15 Control of corruption-.36 Assaulted.27

28 Happiness and Money? Is it basic needs like food and water? Or modern conveniences like electricity, telephones, and the internet?

29 Ladder of LifeBeta Basic needs (food and shelter).27 Modern conveniences (telly etc.).58 Positive Affect Basic needs (food and shelter).37 Modern conveniences (telly etc.)-.19

30 Strongest Correlates: Ladder of life –Modern conveniences (electricity etc.) Pleasant Emotions –People I can count on Unpleasant Emotions –Assaulted past year

31 Cannot Afford Medical Care Japan 4 % Canada 8 % Jordan15 % Iran19 % USA20 % Turkey45 % Romania50 %

32 Well-Being Accounts for Policy Use These could enormously benefit positive psychology

33 Examples of Policies Economic –Satisfying work, unemployment Health –Mental health Social –School checkups, sex work, discrimination Environmental –Airport noise, air pollution, commuting

34 Existing Societal Measures of Well-Being Organization of Econ. Cooperation & Development Statistics Canada GSOEP (Germany) BHPS (U.K.) Center for Disease Control (U.S.) United Nations?

35 But what about: Adaptation? Personal, not societal?

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37 Affect Adaptation? Enjoyment, laughing, smiling Pakistan 47% v. New Zealand88% Anger, sadness, worry, and depression Denmark 12% v. Iran 43%

38 Conclusions National accounts of well-being can help policy makers create better societies, and Help positive psychologists prove their value

39 Two Extremely Important Psychological Points 1.Circumstances and conditions matter a LOT; it is not just individual set- point. We need stronger positive societal science! 2.Life evaluation and affect have different predictors -- Wanting versus liking

40 Take-Home for Positive Psychology PP has placed an emphasis on internal determinants But society, neighborhoods, organizations are also important. More development of organizational PP needed. Social psychology emphasizes the “power of the situation” Happiness is within people, but also in their circumstances too

41 More Take-Home Messages 1. Life evaluation seems like “Wanting,” whereas affect is “Liking” 2. Money should not be dismissed as unimportant. But it does not completely predict the Ladder, and certainly not PA and NA, where social factors are more important. 3. We need accounts of well-being!

42 Diener, Lucas, Schimmack, & Helliwell Well-being for Public Policy Oxford University Press, 2009

43 “The most authoritative and informative book about happiness ever ^ written”

44 Handout overheads in front Thank you, and: Questions? Comments? Discussion?


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