New Paper Debating a Brief Assessment of Well-being vs Nothing at All

A new paper called “Brief Well-being Assessments, or nothing at all?” in the journal Preventive Medicine, debates the advantages and disadvantages of restricting items in a well-being assessment.

In a recent paper on recommendations for the measurement of well-being put forward a number of preliminary proposals for different settings (VanderWeele et al., 2020a).  The recommendations in the paper varied depending on the context and purposes of the well-being assessment and took account of potential constraints on the number of items that might be included for any given assessment.  The authors discussed settings ranging from government surveys, to multi-purpose cohort studies, to empirical studies directed principally towards research on well-being.  The authors also considered that potential restrictions on the number of items to be included could range from settings in which only a single item might be possible to those in which there would be effectively almost no practical constraints. The authors acknowledged that their recommendations were provisional, and would be subject to refinement over time as knowledge in the field continued to expand.

As such, the authors invited debate over these questions with the hope of further refinement. The paper discusses this debate and the authors welcome further discussion and debate of the recommendations they had put forward.  The authors conclude by stating that they see no need at present to change their recommendations in response to the comments of Ruff et al. (2020a, 2020b) and continue to strongly support the notion that a brief assessment of well-being is preferable to nothing at all.

Read the full paper here: