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Upcoming events

    • 4 Oct 2021
    • 7:00 AM (PDT)
    • Online Webinar


    Physical pain in 146 nations


    7:00 AM PST/10:00 AM EST/3:00 PM BST/4:00 PM CET


    The webinar will present evidence on rising trends in physical pain around the world and how physical pain is affected by the state of the economy.

    Rationale: Physical pain is one of the most severe of human experiences. It is thus one of the most important to understand.

    Objective: This paper reports the first cross-country study of the links between physical pain and the state of the economy. A key issue examined is how the level of pain in a society is influenced by the unemployment rate.

    Method: The study uses pooled cross-sectional Gallup data from 146 countries. It estimates fixed-effects regression equations that control for personal characteristics.

    Results: More than a quarter of the world’s citizens are in physical pain. Physical pain is lower in a boom and greater in an economic downturn. Estimated effect-sizes are substantial. Remarkably, increases in pain are borne almost exclusively by women and found principally in rich nations. These findings have paradoxical aspects. The counter-cyclicality of physical pain is not what would be predicted by conventional economic analysis: during an expansion, people typically work harder and longer, and accidents and injuries increase. Nor are the paper’s results due to unemployed citizens experiencing more pain (although they do). Instead, the study’s findings are consistent with an important hypothesis proposed recently, using different kinds of evidence, by brain and behavioural-science researchers such as Katja Wiech and Irene Tracey (2009) and Eileen Chou and colleagues (2016). The hypothesis is that economic worry can create physical pain.

    Conclusions: This study provides the first cross-country evidence that the level of physical pain in a nation depends on the state of the economy. Pain is high when the unemployment rate is high. That is not because of greater pain among people who lose their jobs -- it extends far beyond that into wider society. The increase in physical pain in a downturn is experienced disproportionately by women.


    Lucia Macchia

    Lucia is currently a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School and a Research Affiliate at the Wellbeing Research Centre at the University of Oxford.

    She is a behavioural scientist with an interdisciplinary background and an interest in happiness, physical pain, socioeconomic factors, and public policy. Integrating methods from psychology and behavioural economics, Lucia explores how socioeconomic factors shape human wellbeing and behaviour. To study these topics, she uses large-scale datasets and experiments as well as a wide variety of statistical methods.

    • 10 Nov 2021
    • 7:00 AM (PST)
    • Online Webinar


    Sustainable Hedonism. A Thriving Life That Does Not Cost the Earth


    7:00 AM PST/10:00 AM EST/3:00 PM BST/4:00 PM CET


    How could values that might seem distant, such as ecological balance and solidarity, override what is immediate, personal, and enjoyable? Why would anyone opt for minimalism in the world of maximizers? Ecologically responsible behaviour is often perceived as a loss of happiness and life quality, evoking resistance or even anger.

    The idea of loss is unlikely to motivate for adjustment. A more viable path is to refine and fine-tune our relationship to joy. We need to find a life strategy that is both joyful and does no harm to oneself or to others. I call this ‘sustainable hedonism’.

    Our simplified 21st century version of hedonism encourages radical hedonism, unrestrained egoist pleasure-seeking. In contrast, ancient hedonists were masters of pleasure, but with inner freedom, emphasizing that one should not become a slave to desires. Experiencing pleasure and pain is a matter of habit, and it can be learned, argues Aristotle. Self-mastery is far from being ascetic self-denial, but rather a ’golden mean’ or a ’middle way’ between self-indulgence and self-mortification, as argued by both Aristotle and the Buddha as well. According to Aristotle, pleasure and morality need to be connected. This approach invites us become better hedonists and more virtuous at the same time.

    The presentation is based on Dr Lelkes’ recent book titled "Sustainable Hedonism. A Thriving Life that Does not Cost the Earth” (Bristol University Press, May 2021).

    Presenter: Orsolya Lelkes

    Orsolya Lelkes, PhD is an independent scholar and psychological counsellor, former Deputy Director at the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research in Vienna and former Head of Economic Research at Hungarian Ministry of Finance. She holds a PhD in Social Policy from the London School of Economics. Her current research interests include post-growth economy and society, solidarity economy, flourishing life for all, subjective well-being, participative and community-based initiatives. She is seeking ways to support societal, communal and individual transformations for a flourishing life for all, including future generations. Website:

Past events

4 Sep 2021 ISQOLS 2021 Virtual Awards Ceremony
24 Aug 2021 2021 ISQOLS Virtual Conference
28 Jul 2021 ISQOLS Webinar: Trade and Job (In)Security: The Two Sides of Import Exposure
24 Jun 2021 ISQOLS Gather Event, Postgraduate Program in Medicine and Health
10 Jun 2021 ISQOLS WEBINAR: "How Was Life? New Perspectives on Well-being and Global Inequality since 1820"
26 May 2021 ISQOLS WEBINAR: Explaining Happiness and Income in the Short and Long Run: A Lesson on Happiness
25 Mar 2021 ISQOLS WEBINAR: Walls of Glass. Measuring Deprivation in Social Participation
15 Mar 2021 Quality of Life in Latin America
23 Oct 2020 ISQOLS WEBINAR: Validation of the SPF-Q, an instrument to assess the quality of production functions to achieve well-being, among multimorbid patients
16 Oct 2020 ISQOLS WEBINAR: "Exploring the Link Between Walkability and Subjective Wellbeing in Detroit Metro Area"
5 Oct 2020 ISQOLS WEBINAR:"Does it matter where it comes from? Happiness and air pollution sources"
2 Oct 2020 ISQOLS WEBINAR: "Scale Norming Makes Welfare Analysis with Life Satisfaction Scales Difficult: Theory and Empirical Evidence"
1 Oct 2020 ISQOLS WEBINAR: "Be Happy: Navigating Normative Issues in Behavioural and Well-Being Public Policy"
30 Sep 2020 ISQOLS WEBINAR: "Bowling with Trump: Economic Anxiety, Racial Identification, and Well-Being in the 2016 US Presidential Election"
14 Sep 2020 ISQOLS WEBINAR:"Wellbeing, sustainability, and progress: what's needed to help governments be accountable to human experience?"
2 Sep 2020 ISQOLS WEBINAR:"Influence of Spouses’ Work-Role Similarity on Inter Gender Difference in Health and life Expectancy"
25 Aug 2020 2020 ISQOLS Virtual Conference
21 Aug 2020 ISQOLS WEBINAR:"Promoting wellbeing through gender equity: ten strategies for basic education institutions""
3 Aug 2020 ISQOLS WEBINAR:"Character Strengths and Participation in Sport/Physical Activity to Promote Positive Ageing"
16 Jul 2020 ISQOLS WEBINAR:"Designing Meaningful Work during COVID-19: Implications for Managers & the Future of Work"
22 Jun 2020 ISQOLS WEBINAR:"POZE. A paradigm for Social Change, from the inside out."
8 Jun 2020 ISQOLS WEBINAR:"Transmission of research results to the field of public policies for the improvement of quality of life"
28 May 2020 ISQOLS WEBINAR:"Community Indicators Projects: Theoretical Notions" "
2 Apr 2020 ISQOLS WEBINAR:" Consumption that counts – Exploring links between consumption and well-being"
15 Mar 2020 ISQOLS International Symposium & Site Visit: Quality-of-life in Kibbutz Communities
24 Jan 2020 ISQOLS WEBINAR:"Improving Quality-of-Life Through Quality of Care in Africa"
11 Nov 2019 ISQOLS Member Research Webinar, "Which factors support student wellbeing at university?"
29 Oct 2019 ISQOLS Member Research Webinar, "Exploring the concept of health-related quality of life for patients on haemodialysis in Saudi Arabia"
6 Sep 2019 ISQOLS Conference Dinner
4 Sep 2019 2019 ISQOLS Conference Granada, Spain
1 Sep 2019 ISQOLS Pre-Conference Rabat, Morocco
14 Jun 2019 ISQOLS WEBINAR, "Animals, People and the Planet – increasing wellbeing for all"
3 May 2019 ISQOLS WEBINAR, "Animals, People and the Planet – increasing wellbeing for all"
15 Mar 2019 ISQOLS WEBINAR, "Reframing Work To Improve Well-being"
16 Jan 2019 ISQOLS Webinar: "Bridging the Gap Between the Sustainable Development Goals and Happiness Metrics"
14 Dec 2018 ISQOLS WEBINAR, "Gross National Happiness of Business: An Assessment Tool"
14 Sep 2018 Webinar: "Sustainability through Happiness" with Scott Cloutier

The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS)




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Gilbert, AZ 85299

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