Advertisement

Quality of Life Down-Under: The Australian Unity Wellbeing Index

  • Robert A. Cummins
  • David Mellor
  • Mark A. Stokes
  • Anna A.L.D. Lau
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 33)

Abstract

This paper describes changes in the wellbeing of Australians as measured through the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index. This project has been in progress for six years, from 2001 to 2007. Each of 17 surveys has collected geographically representative data from 2,000 new respondents on both the Personal Wellbeing Index and the National Wellbeing Index. In addition, over the last nine surveys, people have been asked about their perceived likelihood of a terrorist attack in Australia. The variations in wellbeing over the 17 surveys are interpreted in term of data norms, Homeostatic Theory and possible causal agents. It will be shown that some of the wellbeing measures show no systematic variation over time, while others change quite markedly. However, with a few exceptions, it is usually not clear what might be causing such variation. It is concluded that the results generally conform to the predictions of homeostasis but much work remains to be done in order to understand the kinds of factors that influence such changes in population wellbeing.

Keywords

Social Capital National Wellbeing Terrorist Attack Personal Wellbeing Wellbeing Index 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Andrews, F. M., & Withey, S. B. (1976). Social indicators of well-being: American’s perceptions of life quality. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  2. Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. (2005). Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement. Retrieved 16 July 2007, from http://www.dfat.gov.au/trade/negotiations/us_fta/final-text/index.html.
  3. Bourdieu, P. (1986). Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education: Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  4. Cummins, R. A. (1995). The Comprehensive Quality of Life Scale: Development and Evaluation. Paper presented at the Health Outcomes and Quality of Life Measurement Conference (pp 18–24). Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (Reprinted in Health Outcomes Bulletin, 7, 7–14).Google Scholar
  5. Cummins, R. A. (1998). The second approximation to an international standard of life satisfaction. Social Indicators Research, 43, 307–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cummins, R. A., Eckersley, R., Lo, S. K., Okerstrom, E., Hunter, B., & Davern, M. (2003a). Australian Unity Wellbeing Index: Report 5.0 - The Wellbeing of Australians - 1. Personal Finances 2. The Impact of the Bali Bombing. Melbourne: Australian Centre on Quality of Life, School of Psychology, Deakin University, ISBN 0 7300 2594 2, Retrieved 30 July 2007, from http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/acqol/ index_wellbeing/index.htm. Google Scholar
  7. Cummins, R. A., Eckersley, R., Lo, S. K., Okerstrom, E., Hunter, B., & Davern, M. (2003b). Australian Unity Wellbeing Index: Report 6.0 - “The Wellbeing of Australians - The Impact of the Iraq Situation”. Melbourne: Australian Centre on Quality of Life, School of Psychology, Deakin University, ISBN 0 7300 2583 7,Retrieved 30 July 2007, from http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/acqol/index_ wellbeing/index.htm. Google Scholar
  8. Cummins, R. A., Eckersley, R., Pallant, J., Van Vugt, J., & Misajon, R. (2003c). Developing a national index of subjective wellbeing: The Australian Unity Wellbeing Index. Social Indicators Research, 64, 159–190.Google Scholar
  9. 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.Google Scholar
  10. Cummins, R. A., & Nistico, H. (2002). Maintaining life satisfaction: The role of positive cognitive bias. Journal of Happiness Studies, 3, 37–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cummins, R. A., Walter, J., & Woerner, J. (2007a). 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 978 1 74156 079 4, Retrieved 30 July 2007, from http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/acqol/index_wellbeing/index.htm. Google Scholar
  12. Cummins, R. A., Woerner, J., Tomyn, A., Gibson, A., & Knapp, T. (2007b). Australian Unity Wellbeing Index: Report 17.0. The Wellbeing of Australians - Work, Wealth and Happiness., Melbourne: Australian Centre on Quality of Life, School of Psychology, Deakin University. ISBN 978 1 74156 088 6, Retrieved 30 July 2007, from http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/acqol/index_wellbeing/index.htm. Google Scholar
  13. Davern, M., Cummins, R. A., & Stokes, M. (2007). Subjective wellbeing as an affective/cognitive construct. Journal of Happiness Studies, 8(4), 429–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Department of External Affairs. (1951). Security Treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America [ANZUS]. Retrieved 16 July 2007, from http://australianpolitics.com/foreign/anzus/anzus-treaty.shtml
  15. Dreisbach, G., & Goschke, T. (2004). How positive affect modulates cognitive control: Reduced perseveration at the cost of increased distractibility. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 30(2), 343–353.Google Scholar
  16. Durlauf, S. N. (2002). Bowling alone: A review essay. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 47(3), 259–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fukuyama, F. (1995). Social capital and the global economy. Foreign Affairs, 74(5), 89–103.Google Scholar
  18. Human Development Report. (2006). Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis. United Nations Development Program, Geneva, Retrieved 16 July 2007, from http://hdr.undp.org/hdr2006/pdfs/report/HDR06-complete.pdf. Google Scholar
  19. International Wellbeing Group. (2006). Personal Wellbeing Index (4th Edition). Melbourne, Australian Centre on Quality of Life, School of Psychology, Deakin University, ISBN 1 74156 048 9, Retrieved 25 June 2007, from http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/acqol/instruments/wellbeing_index.htm. Google Scholar
  20. Jones, L. V., & Thurstone, L. L. (1955). The psychophysics of semantics: An experimental investigation. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 39(1), 31–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin, 131(6), 803–855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Putnam, R. D. (1993). Making democracy work. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  24. Requena, F. (2003). Social capital, satisfaction and quality of life in the workplace. Social Indicators Research, 61(3), 331–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rosen, M., Floor, L., & Zisfein, L. (1974). Investigating the phenomenon of acquiescence in the mentally handicapped: I - Theoretical model, test development, and normative data. British Journal of Mental Subnormality, 20, 58–68.Google Scholar
  26. Sigelman, C. K., Schoenrock, C., Winer, J. L., Spanhel, C. L., Hromas, S. G., Martin, P. W., et al. (1981). Issues in interviewing mentally retarded persons: An empirical study. In R. H. Bruininks, C. E. Meyers, B. B. Sigford & K. C. Lakin (Eds.), Deinstitutionalization and community adjustment of mentally retarded people (pp. 114–129). Washington DC: American Association on Mental Deficiency.Google Scholar
  27. Sudman, S., & Bradburn, N. M. (1974). Response Effects in Surveys: A Review and Synthesis. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  28. The Economist Worldwide Quality-of-Life Index. (2005). The Economist Intelligence Unit, Retrieved 4 August 2007, from http://www.economist.com/media/pdf/ QUALITY_OF_LIFE.pdf
  29. Wikipedia. (2007a). 2002 Bali bombings. from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_Bali_ bombings
  30. Wikipedia. (2007b). 2002 Bali bombings. from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005 _Bali_bombings

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert A. Cummins
    • 1
  • David Mellor
  • Mark A. Stokes
  • Anna A.L.D. Lau
  1. 1.School of PsychologyDeakin UniversityBurwood CampusAustralia

Personalised recommendations