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The Australian National University

Definitions of wellbeing and their applicability to Indigenous policy in Australia


3 February 2011

The ABS defines wellbeing as a ‘state of health or sufficiency in all aspects of life’. This is an attractive concept on which to base policy as it recognises the importance in people’s lives of domains beyond standard income, poverty or socioeconomic status. However, unlike these more narrow concepts, wellbeing is somewhat more difficult to define precisely enough to measure either at the individual, family/household, community or national level. This lecture outlines some of the definitions of wellbeing and their applicability to Indigenous policy in Australia. Discussion will focus on wellbeing versus misery (anti-wellbeing); Indigenous compared to non-Indigenous notions; single versus composite measures; subjective versus objective measures; and emotional wellbeing versus life evaluation.


Definitions of wellbeing - Paper300.31 KB
Definitions of wellbeing - Presentation16.24 MB
Definitions of wellbeing - Presentation slides (no audio)713.15 KB

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