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Gallup’s Five Well-Being Indicators: Seems Like Something’s Missing

puzzle_piece_small.jpgGallup recently came out with the revelation that there are five types of well-being: (1) Career, (2) Social, (3) Financial, (4) Physical, and (5) Community. I have not seen any of the behind the scenes empirical work validating these five types of well-being, but the five do seem to make conceptual sense. They are clearly not completely separate types of well-being, as poor career well-being might result in poor financial well-being or social well-being. But, the general premise seems to make sense.

Having read several different pieces on the topic, though, something seemed to be missing. As I was reviewing the most recent Gallup Management Journal article, it finally dawned on me. There seems to be an important element of well-being missing from Gallup’s conceptual framework: Mental Well-Being.

You could make the argument that Gallup’s five types of well-being will likely have some effect on mental well-being. If someone lacks career well-being, for example, then that person may experience greater stress which reduces mental well-being. However, you could also argue that poor mental well-being, perhaps resulting from depression or anxiety, could be the precursor to reduced career well-being. Hence, mental well-being could have implications for most, if not all, of the other five types of well-being.

Though it is unlikely that Gallup will re-consider its “five” types of well-being (after all the books and articles have already been printed), I would encourage practitioners to consider that there might be something missing from the list.

For years and years, our healthcare insurance focused primarily on physical health and well-being coverage, with little attention paid to mental health and well-being coverage. It seems to me that Gallup has done the same thing.

Failing to consider the extremely important mental well-being element means that, at least for some employees, no matter what you do to improve the other five types of well-being, you will not optimize your results.

Photo Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannconz / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


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2 Comments

I agree. Mental health should be a major component of the indicator. It is flawed without it.

annonymous (06/ 5/11) said:

I have actually taken the Gallup well-being assessment more than once. Although I was experiencing anxiety and depression, once I identified 3 of the five areas where I was suffering and made improvements in those areas based on the suggestions offered, my mental well-being improved significantly.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dr. Matt Grawitch published on June 22, 2010 10:15 AM.

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