Subjective Wellbeing

Emotional wellbeing

Emotional wellbeing is measured here using the five-question World Health Organization Wellbeing Index (WHO-5), which is a widely-used tool for assessing subjective wellbeing [12]. Respondents to the Canterbury Wellbeing Survey are asked to rate the extent to which each of five emotional wellbeing components (cheerful, calm and relaxed, active and vigorous, fresh and rested, and interest in daily life) has been present or absent in their lives over the previous two-week period.

This indicator presents the WHO-5 Wellbeing Index mean raw score for greater Christchurch respondents. The index is scored out of a maximum 25 points, with higher scores indicating better wellbeing.

The figure shows that the emotional wellbeing of greater Christchurch residents (as measured by the WHO-5 Wellbeing Index) has improved overall over the last five years. After minor fluctuations between 2013 and 2015, the mean WHO-5 score increased to reach the highest levels yet recorded, 15.4 in May 2018 and 15.3 in June 2019 (the 2018 to 2019 difference is not statistically significant). This overall upward trend is statistically significant. While there is no pre-earthquake or New Zealand WHO-5 data available for comparison, a representative, population-based survey of adults in the UK [12] found a WHO-5 mean raw score of 14.7.

The figure shows that survey respondents living in Selwyn District have generally had the highest WHO-5 mean scores across the time-series from 2013 to 2018. While the WHO-5 mean scores for Selwyn and Waimakariri districts were statistically significantly higher than those for Christchurch City, from April 2013 to September 2015, there appears to have been convergence between the three districts’ WHO-5 Wellbeing Index scores since early 2016.

The figure shows similar WHO-5 Wellbeing Index scores for European respondents (15.3), Māori respondents (14.8), and Pacific/Asian/Indian respondents (16.3), in June 2019. While the WHO-5 Wellbeing Index scores were generally lower for Māori respondents compared with European and Pacific/Asian/Indian respondents from 2013 to 2016, the majority of these differences were not statistically significant.

The figure shows a pattern of generally similar WHO-5 Wellbeing Index mean scores for the age groups 18 to 24 years, 25 to 34 years, 35 to 49 years, and 50 to 64 years, over the period 2013 to 2019. For the 65 to 74 years, and 75 and over age group, a different pattern is seen. Both of these oldest age groups have had significantly higher mean WHO-5 scores than all other age groups in 2018 and 2019.

The figure shows a pattern of higher WHO-5 Wellbeing Index mean scores for male respondents compared with female respondents, over the period from 2012 to 2019 (statistically significant differences are evident at the 09/2013, 09/2014, 09/2016, 06/2017, and 06/2019 time-points).

The figure shows a positive relationship between income and emotional wellbeing (WHO-5 Wellbeing Index mean scores) for greater Christchurch, with higher income groups having higher emotional wellbeing. The differences shown between the highest income group ($100,000+ annual household income) and the lowest income group (<$30,000) have been statistically significant at all time-points (for 2019, mean WHO-5 scores 15.8 and 14.4, respectively). The differences between the middle income groups are not statistically significant.

The figure shows that respondents with a disability or long-term health condition, had lower WHO-5 Wellbeing Index mean scores compared with respondents without a disability or long-term health condition, across the time-series from 2013 to 2019 (for 2019, mean WHO-5 score 12.8 and 15.9, respectively). While mean scores for both groups appear to show an overall upward trend, the difference between the two groups is both substantial and statistically significant throughout the time-series.

Data Sources

Source: Canterbury District Health Board.
Survey/data set: Canterbury Wellbeing Survey to 2019. Access publicly available data from the Community and Public Health (Canterbury DHB) website
Source data frequency: Annually.

View technical notes and data tables for this indicator.

Updated: 25/11/2019