What matters for well-being: Quality of life over the life course

Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group
Dr Anke Plagnol
Entertaining Room, Darwin College
Tuesday, March 9, 2010 - 13:10 to 14:00

People's subjective evaluations of their well-being change over the
life course and are often associated with changes in their life
circumstances. Studies have shown that while people, often quickly,
adapt to changes in income, events in other domains of life -- such as family and health -- tend to have a more long-term impact on their well-being. In this talk I will discuss how, on average, well-being changes over the life course. The presentation will not only focus on how individuals evaluate their well-being but also on how they conceptualize what matters for their well-being. An analysis of
perceptions of what matters for quality of life (QoL) in a large-scale
longitudinal dataset - the British Household Panel Survey - indicates that concepts of well-being change over the life course and differ between men and women. Changes in perceptions of QoL are related to important life events, such as the birth of a first child and retirement. While some changes in priorities of what matters for QoL are stable, others disappear more than five years after the life event.

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