Ural Federal University: University Scientists Will Create an App to Measure Well-Being

Psychologists at Ural Federal University have begun a large-scale study of the well-being of residents of the Ural Federal District. Scientists plan to develop a smartphone application that will help users track indicators of emotional and psychological well-being: the presence of goals and their achievement, satisfaction with their life and its quality, the dynamics of emotional state and other criteria. The research was supported by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education under the Priority 2030 program.

“Of the variety of well-being types, socio-psychological and emotional well-being are the most sensitive to the changes that are now taking place in society. We plan to study individual differences in these types of well-being and assess the role of genetic and environmental factors in shaping them. The results of the research will allow us to create a specific product to monitor the condition,” explains Sergey Malykh, Academician of the Russian Academy of Education, Head of the Laboratory of Age Psychogenetics at the Psychological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, researcher of the Academic and Research Laboratory of Neurotechnologies at the Ural Federal University Ural Institute of Humanities and Head of the Population Studies of Social-Psychological and Emotional Well-Being project.

Well-being is understood by the authors as a complex interrelation of material and non-material factors, the achievement of personal goals in all spheres of life. It is also influenced by genetic predisposition, the external environment and the peculiarities of individual development. Psychologists point out that the indicators of well-being are varied and different.

“Material well-being is not always a guarantee of happiness; it is important that one’s desires match one’s abilities. It is not only the setting of a goal that is important, but also the actions to achieve it. If a person tells us that he has a goal, but does nothing to achieve it, it is impossible to achieve it. If our intrinsic motivation is strong, moving toward our goals really does make us better off,” explains Anna Pecherkina, Head of the Department of Pedagogy and Psychology of Education and Head of the UrFU Faculty of Psychology.

The study of socio-psychological and emotional indicators of happiness is only the first stage of a large-scale study. In the future, scientists will consider socio-economic and digital factors that influence the level of human well-being. The project is unique in the fact that well-being indicators are studied in dynamics, from infancy to old age.

“We believe that already from childhood there are certain indicators of psychological well-being. In infancy, a child’s feeling of happiness depends on his or her parents; at school age, peers, friends and teacher are added. The emotional state of the teacher determines the student’s well-being and academic performance. Our research is aimed at determining the degree of influence of the external environment on well-being, at finding the edge where we can really consider the influence of external factors on a person’s internal state,” says Anna Pecherkina.

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