For Experts

  • There are many ways of understanding the term “well-being,” and there is no universal standard for spelling well-being with a hyphen or wellbeing without a hyphen.
  • Psychologists often talk about forms of subjective psychological well-being, like happiness or quality of life. Economists talk about forms of objective well-being, like gross national product or household income. Recently, researchers worldwide have begun to think of well-being in broader terms that encompass all the different types of well-being. 
  • Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) describe well-being using a broad framework that includes seven interacting domains: 
    1. employment/purposeful activity;
    2. finances; 
    3. health/disability;
    4. life skills/preparedness;
    5. social integration; 
    6. housing/physical environment, and;
    7. cultural/social environment. The cultural/social environment includes a diverse range of factors like values, norms, and healthcare and other social security systems.  Elements of each domain in this framework can vary from poor to good based on subjective and objective measurements (Thompson, MacLean, Roach, Banman, Mabior & Pedlar 2016; Thompson, Heber, VanTil, Simkus, Carrese, Sareen & Pedlar, 2019).
  • In the VAC-CAF type of well-being framework, health is one domain of well-being that can interact with the other domains to impact well-being; for example, having a good job supports good mental health, but it is equally true that having good mental health supports finding and keeping a good job.
  • The subjective and objective variability from poor to good in each domain underscores the complexity of well-being and the importance of understanding health as part of a system with bidirectional causality, rather than something that operates in isolation.

For General Public

  • There are many ways of understanding the term “well-being.”
  • Examples include psychological well-being like happiness or quality of life, or economic well-being like household income or gross national product.
  • Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) describe well-being using a broad framework that includes all ways of thinking about well-being across seven interacting domains: 
    1. employment/purposeful activity; 
    2. finances;
    3. health and abilities; 
    4. life skills/preparedness; 
    5. social integration; 
    6. housing/physical environment, and;
    7. cultural/social environment, which includes things like norms, values, healthcare, and other support services.

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