Broadening the Public and Policy Discourse
Edited by Timo J. Hämäläinen and Juliet Michaelson
Chapter 3: The salutogenic framework for well-being: implications for public policy
Well-being as a concept has been used in many contexts and disciplines. We would argue it is an interdisciplinary concept that needs an interdisciplinary framework. Historically, it is deeply rooted in humankind and can express, on the one hand, only a superficial momentary state of being or, on the other hand, a deep existential philosophical expression of being itself. It is dependent on culture, context and life experiences. The measurement of well-being can also be approached in different ways: objective or subjective, absolute or relative, individually or collectively, reported directly by the subject of study or reported by proxy (Diener et al. 1999, 2009; Diener 2009). Our framework is health science. Contemporary evidence demonstrates a strong positive connection between well-being, quality of life, and perceived health which are all strongly related to objective health (Eriksson and Lindström 2006; Eriksson 2007). It is a different question about how to achieve well-being. However, there is a new health model that seems to be able to explain this, that is, the salutogenic model. Therefore, in this chapter we are approaching well-being from the salutogenic perspective. This means we are looking at systematic contextual ways whereby people can achieve the best possible well-being during their life course. Salutogenesis was originally a concept developed in sociology and public health research. Today it is the best available theoretical framework for health promotion.
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