Prof. Ed Diener
Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois
Ed Diener, Professor of Psychology at the University of Utah, the University of Virginia, and senior scientist for the Gallup Organization, is one of the most eminent research psychologists in the world. He has won several distinguished major scholarly awards and honorary doctorates. He has over 250 publications that focus on human well-being, and over 135,000 citations of his work in the scientific literature. For over 35 years, he has studied the causal factors of well-being – life satisfaction, optimism, positive experiences, meaning and purpose, and optimism – and has discovered both societal and individual antecedents that predict human "happiness." Diener is the founder and editor of several scientific journals, the president of several scientific societies, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Professor Diener has been a major advocate of nations adopting measures of well-being to guide policy decisions, so that well-being becomes the focus of government and organizational activity. In support of this idea, Diener has gathered evidence showing that people high in well-being tend to be healthier, to live longer, be more productive at work, better citizens, more creative, and have stronger and more stable social relationships. Furthermore, people high in well-being are more mentally resilient; they tend to bounce back from stressful experiences and are less susceptible to mental illnesses. Diener points out that surveys on societal well-being can help policy makers, because they capture the overall quality of life of individuals, and go beyond income alone.
Professor Diener's research clearly shows that well-being is not an individual pursuit, and that societal circumstances significantly impact people's well-being. Statistics on thriving, struggling and suffering in society, and the related circumstances, well-being indicators tell us which policies are effective in producing human thriving.