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Dr. Matt Grawitch: June 2010 Archives

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.

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