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Love and money: non-linear moderators of subjective wellbeing relevant to public policy This manuscript contains notes below each slide. To view these.

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Presentation on theme: "Love and money: non-linear moderators of subjective wellbeing relevant to public policy This manuscript contains notes below each slide. To view these."— Presentation transcript:

1 Love and money: non-linear moderators of subjective wellbeing relevant to public policy This manuscript contains notes below each slide. To view these notes, open in Powerpoint, go to View, and click on Notes Page Robert A. Cummins 1 Anna L.D. Lau 2 Jacqui Woerner 1 Adele Gibson 1 Adrian Tomyn 1 Jenny Walter 1 Lufanna Lai Ching 1 James Collard 1 1 Australian Centre on Quality of Life, Deakin University 2 Hong Kong Polytechnic University

2 Translation High population SWB is desirable Therefore, public policy should be directed to increasing population SWB The best way to do this is through love and money But the means are complicated by the fact that the relationships are non-linear

3 Positive emotions build a range of desirable characteristics as: Physical resources (health, longevity) Social resources (friendliness, social capital) Intellectual resources (intellectual curiosity, expert knowledge) Psychological resources (resilience, optimism, creativity) Why is population happiness relevant to public policy?

4 How satisfied are you with your -----? ( SWB ) Standard of living Health Achieving in life Relationships Safety Community connectedness Future security Personal Wellbeing Index How do we measure Subjective Wellbeing?

5 Our data are drawn from the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index Surveys Geographically representative sample N = 2,000 Telephone interview #1:April #18:October 2007

6 Personal Wellbeing Index Survey Date Major events preceding survey >S11 >S2, S4, S5 Scores above this line are significantly higher than S S1 Apr 2001 S2 Sept 2001 S3 Mar 2002 S4 Aug 2002 S5 Nov 2002 S6 Mar 2003 S7 Jun 2003 S8 Aug 2003 S9 Nov 2003 S10 Feb 2004 S11 May 2004 S12 Aug 2004 S13 May 2005 S14 Oct 2005 S15 May 2006 S16 Oct 2006 S17 Apr 2007 Strength of satisfaction Key:1 = September 11 2 = Bali Bombing 3 = Pre-Iraq War 4 = Hussein Deposed 5 = Athens Olympic 6 = Asian Tsunami 7 = Second Bali Bombing 8 = New Industrial Relations Laws

7 Personal Wellbeing Index Survey Date Major events preceding survey >S11 >S2, S4, S5 Scores above this line are significantly higher than S S1 Apr 2001 S2 Sept 2001 S3 Mar 2002 S4 Aug 2002 S5 Nov 2002 S6 Mar 2003 S7 Jun 2003 S8 Aug 2003 S9 Nov 2003 S10 Feb 2004 S11 May 2004 S12 Aug 2004 S13 May 2005 S14 Oct 2005 S15 May 2006 S16 Oct 2006 S17 Apr 2007 Strength of satisfaction Key:1 = September 11 2 = Bali Bombing 3 = Pre-Iraq War 4 = Hussein Deposed 5 = Athens Olympic 6 = Asian Tsunami 7 = Second Bali Bombing 8 = New Industrial Relations Laws This represents a 3.0 percentage point variation

8 Why is happiness held so steady? Homeostasis Just like we hold body temperature steady Subjective wellbeing homeostasis

9 Homeostasis is maintained by using resources for defence Bad stuff Subjective wellbeing X Major external protective resources (Money, Relationships) Internal resources (eg. Finding meaning for the bad event) Money is a flexible resource that allows people to defend homeostasis and their happiness

10 Homeostasis can fail Overwhelming Negative Challenges Subjective wellbeing The result of subjective wellbeing loss is depression

11 How can we use this knowledge to identify disadvantaged groups in Australia? Their mean SWB can be examined against the normative range for group mean scores

12 SWB normative range for group mean scores in Australia. Normal range PWI Group A Group B Group C ? ? ?

13 G x All others (2 x 36) 72 A x All others (7 x 31) 217 I x All others (7 x 31) 217 HC x All others (5 x 33) 165 RS x All others (6 x 32) 192 ES x All others (11 x 27) 297 G x A x I (2 x 7 x 7) 98 G x A x HC (2 x 7 x 5) 70 G x A x RS (2 x 7 x 6) 84 G x A x ES (2 x 7 x 11) 154 I x RS x ES (7 x 6 x 11) 462 G x I x ES (2 x 7 x 11) 154 HC x RS x I (5 x 6 x 7) 210 HC x ES x I (5 x 11 x 7) 385 RS x ES x I (6 x 11 x 7) 462 Total number of cells = 3,277 Categories (Number of Cells) Gender - G (2) Age - A (7) Income - I (7) Household Composition - HC (5) Relationship Status – RS (6) Employment Status – ES (11) Demographic investigation Combined data from 16 surveys N30,000

14 Low Wellbeing in Australia. Major risk factors

15 What are the implications of this understanding for public policy? 1.The management of national wealth 1.1 Managing inflation 1.2 Wealth distribution 1.3 Assisting disadvantaged groups 2. Policy on human relationships To manage the two major resources that protect SWB

16 Inflation Level of satisfaction CPI r = -.48, p<.025 Consumer Price Index (for the quarter prior to the survey)

17 Public Policy Increased population happiness Increasing National Wealth In the conventional view it is automatic How can we increase population SWB through wealth?

18 Mean of percent Happy and percent Satisfied with life as a whole GNP/capita (World Bank purchasing power parity estimates, 1995 US

19 Economic growth and Subjective Wellbeing in Japan Deflated GDP/capita Life Satisfaction (Diener & Biswas-Diener, 2002) Life satisfaction is the actual value for each year

20 Public Policy Increased population happiness Increasing National Wealth It is not just about getting wealthier As countries become richer, increases in population happiness can be achieved through managing the distribution of wealth Equitable Wealth Distribution

21 World Map of Gini coefficients Gini index 0 = perfect economic equality 100 = perfect inequality Hong Kong = 54.3 Australia = 35.2 Denmark = 23.2

22 Who is the happiest of them all? Norway Sweden Denmark Scandinavian welfare model causing wealth distribution

23 How satisfied are you with your life as a whole? Frequency The principle is simple N30,000 PathologicalNormal The addition of resources here will cause the tail of the distribution to move to the right, and the mean population happiness will increase as a consequence

24

25 Special purpose samples Members of Carers Australia Mailed questionnaires July 2007 N 4,000 returns

26 The wellbeing of carers

27 Diagnostic ranges of depression NormalMildModerateSevereExtremely depressiondepressiondepressionsevere depression Level of depression Carer sample average

28 Are you the person who provides most of the care?

29 Depression is expensive Hawthorne, G., Cheok, F., Goldney, R., Fisher, L., The excess cost of depression in South Australia: a population-based study. Aust. N. Z. J. Psychiatry 37, 362–373. Australia Direct cost/annum US$ 2,500 Indirect cost US$ 8,500 TOTAL US$ 11,000

30 Protecting homeostasis Intimate relationships help to protect wellbeing against negative challenges Bad stuff Subjective wellbeing X Protective resources (eg. money, relationships)

31 It is almost universally assumed that any level of support is better than none eg. How much support do you receive from your partner? [ 0 – 10] Researchers make two assumptions as: 1.A rating of 4 is better than a rating of 3. 2.The data can be analysed through linear statistics

32 Level of support from partner 72.0 Never married 70.6 Live alone 80% (51%)(15%)(14%)

33 Age SWB Married Never married Divorced Normal range The protective/damaging effect of relationships with Age Questions relevant to Public Policy: 1.How can we strengthen marriages? 2.Why are fewer young people getting married? 3.What are the implications of easy vs difficult divorce? 4.Should we assist single people to find a partner?

34 Conclusions 1.Measuring population wellbeing allows us to identify demographic subgroups with low wellbeing. 2.Targeting such groups for additional resources will act to raise the population wellbeing overall. 3. As low wellbeing is an indicator of depression, and as depression is a very expensive condition, the above strategy also has advantages for the economy. 4. There is both a social and an economic advantage from public policy directed to the enhancement of population wellbeing.

35 References Cummins, R. A. (2003). Normative life satisfaction: Measurement issues and a homeostatic model. Social Indicators Research, 64, Cummins, R. A., & Lau, A. L. D. (2004) The motivation to maintain subjective well-being : A homeostatic model. In H. Switzky (Ed.), International Review of Research on Mental Retardation: Personality and Motivational Systems in Mental Retardation, 28, (pp ). Amsterdam: Elsevier. Cummins, R. A., & Nistico, H. (2002). Maintaining life satisfaction: The role of positive cognitive bias. Journal of Happiness Studies, 3, Cummins, R. A., Eckersley, R. Pallant, J. Van Vugt, J, & Misajon, R. (2003). Developing a national index of subjective wellbeing: The Australian Unity Wellbeing Index. Social Indicators Research, 64, Cummins, R. A., Gullone, E. & Lau, A. L. D. (2002). A model of subjective well being homeostasis: The role of personality. In: E. Gullone & R. A. Cummins (Eds.), The universality of subjective wellbeing indicators: Social Indicators Research Series (pp. 7-46). Dordrecht: Kluwer. Cummins, R. A., Eckersley, R., Okerstrom, E., Woerner, J. & Tomyn, A.(2005). Australian Unity Wellbeing Index: Report 13.0 – The Wellbeing of Australians – Caregiving at Home. Melbourne: Australian Centre on Quality of Life, School of Psychology, Deakin University. ISBN Cummins, R. A., Hughes, J., Tomyn, A., Gibson, A., Woerner, J., & Lai, L. (2007). Australian Unity Wellbeing Index: Report The Wellbeing of Australians – Carer Health and Wellbeing. Melbourne: Australian Centre on Quality of Life, School of Psychology, Deakin University. ISBN

36 References continued Cummins, R. A., Walter, J. & Woerner, J. (2007). Australian Unity Wellbeing Index: Report 16.1 – The Wellbeing of Australians – Groups with the highest and lowest wellbeing in Australia. Melbourne: Australian Centre on Quality of Life, School of Psychology, Deakin University. ISBN Cummins, R. A., Woerner, J. & Tomyn, A., Knapp, T. & Gibson, A. (2005). Australian Unity Wellbeing Index: Report 14.0 – The Wellbeing of Australians – Personal Relationships. Melbourne: Australian Centre on Quality of Life, School of Psychology, Deakin University. ISBN Diener, E., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2002). Will money increase subjective well-being? Social Indicators Research, 57(2), Ferguson, K. M., & Mindel, C. H. (2007). Modeling fear of crime in Dallas neighborhoods: A test of social capital theory. Crime and Delinquency, 53(2), Hawthorne, G., Cheok, F., Goldney, R., Fisher, L. (2003). The excess cost of depression in South Australia: a population-based study. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 37, 362–373 International Wellbeing Group (2006). Personal Wellbeing Index, Australian Centre on Quality of Life, Deakin University, Melbourne: Louw, A. (2007). Crime and Perceptions after a Decade of democracy. Social Indicators Research –255; Lovibond, S. H., & Lovibond, P. F. (1995) Manual for the depression anxiety stress scales, Psychology Foundation, Sydney. Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005) The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin, 131(6), Scandinavian Welfare Model. Wikipedia,


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