Authors: , , ,

Background: To propose collective well-being as a holistic measure of the overall “health” of a community. To define collective well-being as a group-level construct measured across 5 domains (vitality, opportunity, connectedness, contribution, and inspiration) and introduce an actionable model that demonstrates how community characteristics affect collective well-being. To review the literature describing each domain’s association with health outcomes and community characteristics’ associations with collective well-being.

Methods: We came to consensus on topics describing each component of our conceptual model. Because “well-being” is not indexed in MEDLINE, we performed topic-specific database searches and examined bibliographies of papers retrieved. We excluded articles that were limited to narrow subtopics or studies within small subpopulations. Preference was given to quasi-experimental or randomized studies, systematic reviews, or meta-analyses. Consensus was reached on inclusion or exclusion of all articles.

Findings: Reviewed literature supported each of the proposed domains as important aspects of collective well-being and as determinants of individual or community health. Evidence suggests a broad range of community characteristics support collective well-being.

Conclusions: The health and quality of life of a community may be improved by focusing efforts on community characteristics that support key aspects of well-being. Future work should develop a unified measure of collective well-being to evaluate the relative impact of specific efforts on the collective well-being of communities.

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