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Understanding and modelling the relationship between individual and place-based community wellbeing


Increasing the wellbeing of individuals, communities, and nations is important in and of itself, and because wellbeing drives social and economic progress, with impacts in areas such as employment, productivity, and physical health. There are many different approaches to conceptualising and measuring wellbeing. One perspective focusses on how individuals subjectively feel and think about their lives or certain aspects of their lives, using questions such as how satisfied they are nowadays or how they felt yesterday. Another perspective focuses on how well people are functioning, with questions that may cover levels of confidence or interpersonal relatedness.3We now have abundant evidence on the drivers and circumstances of these aspects of wellbeing.

Another, relatively newer, perspective emphasises community wellbeing. Community wellbeing goes beyond what individuals think about their own lives and focusses on how people experience life in their local communities. Although individual wellbeing can be aggregated at the community level using summary and distributional measures, community wellbeing transcends these measures by encompassing aspects of communities rather than individuals. Existing research on community wellbeing has used subjective and objective indicators of diverse concepts, including trust in governance, quality of local services, civic engagement, safety, sense of belonging, social capital, community cohesion, and shared values. Although community wellbeing is a concept that resonates with policymakers, we have a limited understanding of its correlates, drivers, and relationship with individual wellbeing.

This proposal aims to explore the relationship between individual and community wellbeing, focussing on mechanisms and inequalities.

Policy and Practice Partners:

What Works Centre for Wellbeing

Co-Funding partners:

Centre for Ageing Better, Spirit of 2012

Aims and Objectives:

We will explore our aim in four phases.

Phase 1, Model Development

Research Question #1 – What is the relationship between community wellbeing and the wellbeing of different individuals and identified groups within that community (place)?

Phase 2, Model Mapping and Testing

Research Question #2 – How can this relationship be modelled quantitatively using measures of community, individual wellbeing and measures for the quantity and quality of relationships and sense of belonging to a place?

Phase 3 – Barriers, enablers, and trade-offs

Research Question #3 – What are the barriers and enablers (context and social infrastructure) to achieving a virtuous circle of positive outcomes for individuals and communities and addressing any trade-offs or risks of negative outcomes for different individuals/groups?


We are conducting quantitative analyses of existing data (secondary data analysis) and qualitative interviews.

Main Results:






Implications for Implementation:







Project website:

Mon 13 Sep 2021, 13:30 | Tags: Oyinlola Oyebode Public Health Methodology Laura Kudrna