Quality-of-Life Management Issues in the News

Management QOL in the News - November 24, 2018

Estes Weighted Index of Social Progress

The Management Institute for Quality-of-Life Studies (MIQOLS) is pleased to announce the launch of the Weighted Index of Social Progress (WISP). The WISP is a quality-of-life metric innovation of Professor Richard J. Estes, Professor Emeritus of Social Work and Policy at the University of Pennsylvania (USA). Professor Estes has developed the WISP in the 1970s and has reported the quality of life on many countries and world regions since (from 1970s up to 2018) (see references to his publications regarding the WISP in http://www.miqols.org/toolbox/isp.html (click Show Sources).

Specifically, Professor Estes’ WISP is a composite index of quality of life at the country level. That is, the WISP index captures quality of life of the vast majority of the countries (countries that maintains social indicators data). The WISP consists of an overall composite score of each country (shown as an actual score varying from 0 to 100, ranks, and standard deviation from the mean). The overall index is made up of 10 subindices: education, health, women status, defense effort, economic, demography, environmental, social chaos, cultural cohesion, and welfare effort.

The Education Subindex is made up of four indicators: (1) Public Expenditures on Education as Percentage of GDP (+; i.e., the positive sign indicates that the higher the score the higher the quality of life); (2) Primary School Completion Rate (+); (3) Secondary School Net Enrollment Rate (+); and (4) Adult Literacy Rate (+).

The Health Subindex consists of six indicators: (1) Life Expectation at Birth (+); (2) Infant Mortality Rate (-; i.e., the negative sign indicates that the higher the score the lower the quality of life); (3) Under-Five Child Mortality Rate (-); (4) Physician Per 100,000 Population (+); Percent of Population Undernourished (-); and (6) Public Expenditure on Health as Percentage of GDP (+).

The Women Status Subindex consists of five indicators: (1) Female Adult Literacy as Percentage of Male Literacy (+); (2) Contraceptive Prevalence among Married Women (+); (3) Maternal Mortality Rate (-); (4) Female Secondary School Enrollment as Percentage of Male Enrollment (+); and (5) Seats in Parliament Held by Women as Percentage of Total (+).

The Defense Effort Subindex consists of one indicator, namely Military Expenditures as Percentage of GDP (-).

The Economic Subindex consists five indicators: (1) Per Capita Gross National Income as Measured by PPP (+); (2) Percent Growth in GDP (+); (3) Unemployment Rate (-); (4) Total External Debt as Percentage of GDP (-); and (6) GINI Index Score (-).

The Demography Subindex comprise three indicators: (1) Average Annual Rate of Population Growth (-); (2) Percent of Population Aged < 15 years (-); (3) Percent of Population Aged > 64 Years (+).

The Environmental Subindex has three indicators: (1) Percentage of Nationally Protected Area (+); (2) Average Annual Number of Disaster-Related Death (-); and (3) Per Capita Metric Tons of Carbon-Dioxide Emissions (-).

The Social Chaos Subindex has six indicators: (1) Violations of Political Rights (-); (2) Violations of Civil Liberties (-); (3) Number of Internally Displaced Persons Per 100,000 Population (-); (4) Number of Externally Displaced Person Per 100,000 Population (-); (5) Estimated Number of Deaths from Armed Conflicts (-); and (6) Perceived Corruption Index (-).

The Cultural Cohesion Subindex has three indicators: (1) Largest Percentage of Population Sharing the Same or Similar Racial/Ethnic Origins (+); (2) Largest Percentage of Population Sharing the Same or Similar Religious Beliefs (+); and (3) Largest Share of Population Sharing the Same Mother Tongue (+).

Finally, the Welfare Effort Subindex has five indicators: (1) Age First National Laws-Old Age, Invalidity & Death (+), (2) Age First National Laws-Sickness & Maternity (+); (3) Age First National Laws-Work Injury (+); (4) Age First National Laws-Unemployment (+); (5) Age First National Laws-Family Allowance (+).

Please visit the WISP metric on MIQOLS’ website at http://www.miqols.org/toolbox/isp.html and start using it for research and to guide public policy decisions at the national and international levels.

Management QOL in the News - October 25, 2018

23 charts and maps that show the world is getting much, much better

For most Americans, these feel like bleak times. We have a massively unpopular, scandal-plagued president whose aides are being convicted of serious federal felonies. Overt, old-fashioned racism is publicly visible and powerful in a way it wasn’t only five years ago. More than 200 admired, powerful men have been accused of sexual misconduct or assault.

This is all real, and truly alarming. But it would be a mistake to view that as the sum total of the world in 2018. Under the radar, some aspects of life on Earth are getting dramatically better. Extreme poverty has fallen by half since 1990, and life expectancy is increasing in poor countries — and there are many more indices of improvement like that everywhere you turn.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - October 19, 2018

Well-being in metrics and policy

Carol Graham, Kate Laffan, Sergio Pinto

This century is full of progress paradoxes, with unprecedented economic development and improvements in longevity, health, and literacy coexisting with climate change, persistent poverty in the poorest countries, and increasing income inequality and unhappiness in many wealthy ones. Economic growth and the traditional metrics used to assess it—particularly gross domestic product (GDP)—are necessary but not sufficient to guarantee growth that is inclusive and politically and socially sustainable. Well-being metrics, derived from large-scale surveys and questionnaires that capture the income and nonincome determinants of individual well-being, often provide a different picture of what is happening to people. These metrics can provide insight into policies to sustain human welfare in the future.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - October 2, 2018

What happened to the American Dream?

Q&A with "Happiness for All" author Carol Graham

The "American Dream"—one of the country’s most foundational principles—has long made a simple promise: Hard work leads to success. But what happens when large swaths of American society don’t buy into it? How do Americans really feel about growing levels of inequality? Carol Graham, the Leo Pasvolsky Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and College Park Professor at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, uses economic metrics to explore these and other issues in her book Happiness for All? Unequal Hopes and Lives in Pursuit of the American Dream.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - September 24, 2018

The US Is the Only Wealthy Nation That's Becoming Less Livable: Report

The world remains a deeply unequal place, and as social progress accelerates in some countries, it’s stalling or even declining in others, according to the nonprofit the Social Progress Imperative.

Over the past four years, the world improved the most in terms of access to water and sanitation and basic nutrition, while social inclusiveness and access to higher education showed the most decline.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - September 21, 2018

Want to learn how to improve your life in just two days?

Find out how to get happy, take back control and achieve your dreams at The Best You Expo.

Read more here.

Good night’s sleep more important than a pay rise in making you happy, says study

Sleeping well has a far more profound impact on wellbeing than a significant pay rise, according to new research.

A survey of thousands of Britons by the Oxford Economics and the National Centre for Social Research found that a healthy amount of sleep was the strongest indicator of living well.

Read more here.

Science says happier people have these 9 things in common

Everybody wants to be happy.

That's why the science of happiness has gained more attention in recent years —researchers have started to produce reports on happiness around the globe, and positive psychology, which focuses on what makes individuals and communities thrive, has skyrocketed in popularity.

At this point, we actually know a fair amount about how certain behaviours, attitudes, and choices relate to happiness, though most research on the topic can only find correlations.

Researchers think that roughly 40 percent of our happiness is under our own control; the rest is determined by genetics and external factors. That means there's a lot we can do to control our own happiness.

Read more here.

Mentoring can improve youths’ well-being

HUNTINGTON — After a recent in-depth study suggested girls across the country face challenges involving obesity, emotional health and economic conditions that have not improved, the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council is being proactive in its approach to reverse the trend.

Read more here.

Buying Time Can Make You Happier Than Buying Things

We've all been told countless times that money can't buy happiness. But that's not entirely true. There is one commodity on the market that can promote a deep sense of well-being. That commodity is time.

Ashley V. Whillans, an assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, has done a lot of research into what social scientists call "time famine." As the lead author in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America in 2017, Whillans wrote that "people around the world are feeling increasingly pressed for time, undermining well-being." Despite rising incomes across many parts of the globe, she writes, "increases in wealth have produced an unintended consequence: a rising sense of time scarcity."

Read more here.

Are Friends the Key to Happiness?

Long-term studies show that close relationships are better predictors of well-being than almost anything else.

In the world of science, a longitudinal study is a research method in which the same group of subjects is observed and measured over a period of time. If there is one study that really puts the "long" in longitudinal, it's the Harvard Study of Adult Development. It has been providing data on the same group of men since 1938. There were 268 of them then – fewer than 20 are still alive – all Harvard sophomores, including future President John F. Kennedy and future Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. The goal of the study was to find out what factors lead to healthy and happy lives. And perhaps the biggest key to well-being, it has revealed, is having friends.

Dr. Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is the fourth director of the Harvard Study. "This is now the longest in-depth study of adult life we know of," he says. "Once we followed people into old age, then we could look back and find what we knew of them in their 40s and 50s that could predict being healthy and happy in their 70s and 80s."

Read more here.

In Pursuit of Happiness

Neuroscientist Dean Burnett dives deep into what makes us happy.

It's human nature to want to be happy, but people know relatively little about the science behind the emotion.

Scientists are only just beginning to grasp how the human brain processes emotion – the chemical processes and how they affect our thoughts and behaviors. What does it mean to be happy? And what's actually happening in people's brains when they are?

These are the questions neuroscientist Dean Burnett set out to explore in his new book, "Happy Brain: Where Happiness Comes From and Why," an attempt to understand one of humanity's most potent emotions.

Read more here.

6 Proven Ways to Bring Happiness to Your Life

Happiness is rooted in practices and behaviors.

The pursuit of happiness is guaranteed in our Constitution, but the Founding Fathers, sadly, failed to provide a path for achieving that elusive goal. Social scientists, thankfully, have stepped in. Research has continued to find that certain practices and behaviors consistently lead to greater levels of perceived happiness.

Read more here.

Money Can Actually Buy Some Happiness. But How Much?

David Lee Roth, the former singer for the band Van Halen, once acknowledged that money can't buy happiness. "But it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up right alongside it," he added. That pretty much sums up the conundrum. Is there some point at which the separate scales of income and happiness cross?

If you are to believe recent research published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, the answer is yes – and that point is in the neighborhood of $60,000 to $75,000 a year per person.

Read more here.

The Many Ways Travel Is Good for Your Mental Health

Americans are notoriously hardworking, sometimes to the detriment of our own health. We take fewer vacations than most other countries in the developed world. We're much less likely to travel, as well. “The average U.S. citizen has been outside the country three times. In other countries, it’s more like a dozen times,” says Dr. Joshua A. Weiner, a psychiatrist practicing in McLean, Virginia.

Though there hasn’t been a lot of direct research into this, most experts agree that travel has powerful mental health benefits. “A lot is based on making reasonable conclusions based on other things we do know,” says Dr. John Denninger, a psychiatrist, expert on mind-body science and the director of research for the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. On balance, he says, travel is “absolutely” good for mental health.

Read more here.

The World's 10 Happiest Countries

Searching for happiness? You might want to head to Finland.

Finland has edged out Norway as the world's happiest country, according to the 2018 World Happiness Report, an annual global ranking of 156 countries by their happiness and 117 countries by the happiness of their immigrants. The United Nations report released on Wednesday also found that Americans have gotten less happy even as the United States has grown in wealth. The report analyzes countries' happiness by income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust, generosity and absence of corruption.

Read more here.

Health Buzz: The 10 Happiest Cities in America

Everyone wants to be happy. But according to research, you have a better shot at it in certain cities.

The happiest city in America is Fremont, California, followed by Bismarck, North Dakota, and San Jose, California, according to a new ranking from WalletHub. Four out of the top 10 cities are in California, with two in North Dakota and Texas, respectively.

WalletHub ranked the happiest cities in America – more than 180 – across three categories: emotional and physical well-being, income and employment, and community and environment. Each section examined various happiness indicators, including everything from depression rate to average leisure time per day to income-growth rate.

According to the report, the least happy city is Detroit, Michigan, with Huntington, West Virginia, and Birmingham, Alabama, rounding out the bottom three.

Read more here.

Management QOL in the News - July 31, 2018

Association for Psychological Science - Happiness News

The Association for Psychological Science has published several articles on happiness. Please visit https://www.psychologicalscience.org/topics/happiness in order to read more.

Visit the site here.

Management QOL in the News - April 14, 2018

Americans don’t need more money to be happier—they need to be like Denmark

The new World Happiness Report again ranks Denmark among the top three happiest of 155 countries surveyed—a distinction that the country has earned for seven consecutive years.

The US, on the other hand, ranked 18th in this year’s World Happiness Report, a four-spot drop from last year’s report.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - March 19, 2018

This is the world's happiest country in 2018

Reindeer jerky, anyone? Finland is the happiest country in the world, according to the latest World Happiness Report.

Norway, last year's winner, came in second place in the 2018 report. It's followed by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - March 2, 2018

Quality of Life Rankings

Measuring states' natural and social environments

Policymakers have implemented a number of regulations over the past half-century to ensure a safe relationship between people and their environment. Under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency regulates air pollution. Similarly, the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act ensure that states properly dispose of pollutants at treatment plants and that public drinking water meets federal standards.

These laws not only help preserve the nation's natural resources, but they protect the public from harmful toxins and resulting health concerns that affect their quality of life.

In addition to a healthy environment, a person's quality of life is largely a result of their interactions with those around them. Studies show that when people feel socially supported, they experience greater happiness, as well as physical and mental health.

North Dakota and Minnesota are the most effective at promoting their citizens' well-being by providing both a healthy environment and a sense of social connectedness. Other top states include Wisconsin, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Mississippi.

Read full rankings here.

These are the states with the best quality of life

By [Yahoo Lifestyle] Abby Haglage

Midwestern states dominated U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best States review, released this week, surpassing their coastal neighbors in education, infrastructure, health care, and — the newest section of the report — quality of life.

Iowa, which placed sixth last year, jumped to first place overall as a result of claiming the top spot in infrastructure and the third in health care. Next in line for overall ranking was Minnesota, followed by Utah, North Dakota, and New Hampshire.

Read the full article here.

Management QOL in the News - February 17, 2018

Happiness 101

One Tuesday last fall I sat in on a positive-psychology class called the Science of Well-Being — essentially a class in how to make yourself happier — at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. George Mason is a challenge for positive psychologists because it is one of the 15 unhappiest campuses in America, at least per The Princeton Review. Many students are married and already working and commute to school. It’s a place where you go to move your career forward, not to find yourself.

Read full article here.

Yale’s Most Popular Class Ever: Happiness

By David Shimer

NEW HAVEN — On Jan. 12, a few days after registration opened at Yale for Psyc 157, Psychology and the Good Life, roughly 300 people had signed up. Within three days, the figure had more than doubled. After three more days, about 1,200 students, or nearly one-fourth of Yale undergraduates, were enrolled.

The course, taught by Laurie Santos, 42, a psychology professor and the head of one of Yale’s residential colleges, tries to teach students how to lead a happier, more satisfying life in twice-weekly lectures.

“Students want to change, to be happier themselves, and to change the culture here on campus,” Dr. Santos said in an interview. “With one in four students at Yale taking it, if we see good habits, things like students showing more gratitude, procrastinating less, increasing social connections, we’re actually seeding change in the school’s culture.”

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - October 22, 2017

These Are the Happiest Cities in the US

People have been trying to figure out happiness for a long time. Albert Camus saw Aristotle's "supreme good" as something of a balancing act. "There is no love of life without despair of life," he said. Where you are in the world has an impact on your happiness, whether that's on a vacation, at work, or, more broadly, the city you live in. National Geographic, scientists at Gallup, and New York Times best-selling author Dan Buettner have endeavored to look at cities through that lens. In the process, they've come up with a list of the 25 happiest cities in the United States.

Read the full article here.

Management QOL in the News - October 14, 2017

SOCAP17 – Music Action Lab

Management QOL in the News - October 7, 2017

Lessons from the longest study on human development

For the past 70 years, scientists in Britain have been studying thousands of children through their lives to find out why some end up happy and healthy while others struggle. It's the longest-running study of human development in the world, and it's produced some of the best-studied people on the planet while changing the way we live, learn and parent. Reviewing this remarkable research, science journalist Helen Pearson shares some important findings and simple truths about life and good parenting.

View the TED talk here.

Management QOL in the News - September 24, 2017

Good genes are nice, but joy is better

By Liz Mineo, Harvard Staff Writer

When scientists began tracking the health of 268 Harvard sophomores in 1938 during the Great Depression, they hoped the longitudinal study would reveal clues to leading healthy and happy lives.

They got more than they wanted.

After following the surviving Crimson men for nearly 80 years as part of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the world’s longest studies of adult life, researchers have collected a cornucopia of data on their physical and mental health.

Read full article here.

What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it's fame and money, you're not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you're mistaken. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

View the TED talk here.

Management QOL in the News - September 20, 2017

Is the world really better than ever?

The headlines have never been worse. But an increasingly influential group of thinkers insists that humankind has never had it so good – and only our pessimism is holding us back.

Read full article here.

Management QOL in the News - September 16, 2017

Emily Esfahani Smith: There's more to life than being happy

Our culture is obsessed with happiness, but what if there's a more fulfilling path? Happiness comes and goes, says writer Emily Esfahani Smith, but having meaning in life -- serving something beyond yourself and developing the best within you -- gives you something to hold onto. Learn more about the difference between being happy and having meaning as Esfahani Smith offers four pillars of a meaningful life.

View the TED talk here.

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