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Approved Research

A social ecological model of subjective 'well-being' versus 'ill-being': A structural equation modelling study on the UK Biobank cohort

Principal Investigator: Dr Darren Edwards
Approved Research ID: 92623
Approval date: October 26th 2022

Lay summary


This project aims to improve our understanding of the pathways to subjective wellbeing versus ill-being, taking into account key variables at multiple levels of scale, spanning the individual, community and environment.  

Scientific rationale,

Prior research has identified a number of key variables influencing human wellbeing, ranging in scale from biopsychsocial variables (e.g. the beat-to-beat variability in heart rate, cognitive flexibility and social connectedness) to variables relating to sociocontextual and ecological impacts (e.g. social capital, and green space availability etc). Research has seldom accounted for such complexities and potential interactions stemming from the interconnectedness of multiple systemic factors influencing the complex construct of wellbeing and illbeing. This work will therefore conduct structural equation modelling and path analysis to explore more sophisticated model of wellbeing and examine its relevance to related yet distinct construct of illbeing, taking into account the many mediating and moderating factors of key wellbeing markers.

Project duration,

2 Years.

Public health impact,

We will develop a contemporary evidence-based model that reflects the complex construct of individual wellbeing. By incorporating ecological, social, psychological, and physiological influencing factors, this work will facilitate a transdisciplinary approach to studying public health relevant factors of 'wellbeing' versus 'ill-being'. In doing so, we hope to aid a conceptual shift within wellbeing research that will open up avenues for interventions promoting positive change at individual, social, and ecological levels.