Inner wellbeing: Concept and validation of a new approach to subjective perceptions of wellbeing—India

Sarah C. White, Stanley O. Gaines, Shreya Jha

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This paper describes the conceptual development of a multi-domain, psychosocial model of ‘Inner Wellbeing’ (IWB) and assesses the construct validity of the scale designed to measure it. IWB expresses what people think and feel they are able to be and do. Drawing together scholarship in wellbeing and international development it is grounded in field research in marginalised, rural communities in the global South. Results from research in India at two points in time (2011 and 2013) are reported. At Time 1 (n = 287), we were unable to confirm an eight-factor, correlated model as distinct yet interrelated domains. However, at Time 2 (n = 335), we were able to confirm a revised, seven-factor correlated model with economic confidence, agency and participation, social connections, close relationships, physical and mental health, competence and self-worth, and values and meaning (five items per domain) as distinct yet interrelated domains. In particular, at Time 2, a seven-factor, correlated model provided a significantly better fit to the data than did a one-factor model.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2014


  • subjective wellbeing
  • International Development
  • India
  • model validation


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