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Livingston, V.;  Jackson-Nevels, B.;  Reddy, V.V. Social, Cultural, and Economic Determinants of Well-Being. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 15 June 2024).
Livingston V,  Jackson-Nevels B,  Reddy VV. Social, Cultural, and Economic Determinants of Well-Being. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 15, 2024.
Livingston, Val, Breshell Jackson-Nevels, Velur Vedvikash Reddy. "Social, Cultural, and Economic Determinants of Well-Being" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 15, 2024).
Livingston, V.,  Jackson-Nevels, B., & Reddy, V.V. (2022, June 27). Social, Cultural, and Economic Determinants of Well-Being. In Encyclopedia.
Livingston, Val, et al. "Social, Cultural, and Economic Determinants of Well-Being." Encyclopedia. Web. 27 June, 2022.
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Social, Cultural, and Economic Determinants of Well-Being

Individual well-being is influenced by a number of economic and social factors that include income, mental health, physical health, education, social relationships, employment, discrimination, government policies, and neighborhood conditions. Well-being involves both physical and mental health as part of a holistic approach to health promotion and disease prevention. The well-being of a society’s people has the potential to impact the well-being and productivity of the society as a whole. Though it may be assessed at the individual level, well-being becomes an important population outcome at the macro level and therefore represents a public health issue. 

well-being racial trauma discrimination social relationships socioeconomic status mental and physical health poverty
The term well-being is universally known but few may truly understand the impact of well-being on everyday life. Some may view well-being very simply as indicative of happiness and life satisfaction. Others may be unaware of the impact of well-being on health. Definitions of well-being vary based on socioeconomic status, education, nationality, gender, race/ethnicity, and political ideology. The World Health Organization defines positive mental health as a state of well-being in which the individual realizes their own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community [1]. It seems logical that having a purpose in life would add meaning to one’s existence. That purpose could include the type of job a person is engaged in, or the nurturing of children, or possibly the care of a disabled loved one [2]. While there is no consensus definition of well-being, there appears to be a generally accepted agreement that well-being includes positive feelings [3]. In addition, there are a number of dimensions of well-being, including physical well-being, social well-being, emotional well-being, economic well-being, life satisfaction, psychological well-being, eudaimonic well-being, community well-being, and subjective well-being. Regardless of the definition used or the dimension measured, well-being is associated with a number of social and economic outcomes.
The concept of subjective well-being refers to how people experience and evaluate their lives, specific domains, and activities in their lives. Experienced well-being refers to people’s feelings during a particular moment in life, whereas evaluative well-being represents a person’s general assessment of their life based on recall of a particular period in their life. The two subjective measures of well-being are likely to provide different results compared to more objective measures, such as the gross domestic product (GDP).
Whether measured individually via subjective surveys, such as the WHO-5, or through the use of objective measures, such as GDP, household income, unemployment levels, or neighborhood crime, well-being metrics provide policy makers with important data for the development or discontinuation of social policies. Of greater importance is how the measurement, tracking, and promotion of well-being can be used in disease prevention and health promotion. According to the Center for Disease Control, well-being has been found to be associated with the following [3]:
  • Longevity,
  • Self-perceived health,
  • Healthy behaviors,
  • Mental and physical health,
  • Social connectedness,
  • Productivity.


  1. WHO. Mental Health: Strengthening Our Response, 30 March 2018; World Health Organization: Geneva, Switzerland, 2018.
  2. Ruggeri, K.; Garcia-Garcon, E.; Maguire, A.; Matz, S.; Huppert, F. Well-being is more than just happiness and life satisfaction: A multidimensional analysis of 21 countries. Health Qual. Life Outcomes 2020, 18, 1–16.
  3. CDC. Well-Being Concepts. 2022. Available online: (accessed on 20 November 2021).
Subjects: Social Issues
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