Our Studies and Data

The Human Flourishing Program at Harvard makes use of existing data sets and also aims to create new data resources to better study human flourishing. Some of the major data resources we have developed, or are developing, that make use of at least two waves of individual-level data, are described below.

- Primary Data Collection Projects -

Global Flourishing Study

The Global Flourishing Study is a longitudinal research study being carried out in collaboration between scholars at the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard and Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion, and in partnership with Gallup and the Center for Open Science. The study will involve data collection for approximately 240,000 participants, from 22 geographically and culturally diverse countries, with nationally representative samples within each country, and with annual data collection on the same panel of individuals, with a rich set of survey items, for five waves of data. The panel will include individuals from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and will include a rich set of questions on well-being along with demographic, social, economic, political, religious, personality, childhood, community, health and character-based questions. The Global Flourishing Study will be an open-access data resource and the first wave of data collected in 2022. A full report on the survey development process from Gallup is available and the final set of questions that will be used in the Global Flourishing Study can be found in Appendix 2 of that report (p. 43-52). The study will have the potential to transform and dramatically expand our knowledge concerning human flourishing.

International REACH Forgiveness Trial

The International REACH Forgiveness Trial is a multi-site six-country randomized trial of several thousand individuals to evaluate the effects of a forgiveness workbook intervention on depression, anxiety, and forgiveness itself. The trial will be run in early 2020 with sites in Columbia, South Africa, Ukraine, China, and Indonesia. The International REACH Forgiveness Trial, funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation, is a unique collaboration of these sites, the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard, program affiliate Everett Worthington (emeritus faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University, who developed the workbook based on his REACH forgiveness model), and Man Yee Ho at the University of Hong Kong.

Aetna Well-Being Assessment

The Aetna Well-Being Assessment, which ran from 2017-2019, was a project to assess and promote employee well-being at Aetna Inc. A set of 40 well-being questions were developed for the assessment and data was collected on 1,411 employees across two waves in 2018 and 2019. The study data, in addition to the well-being questions, includes social, economic, demographic, workplace, and health-related information, all of which are useful in understanding both the determinants of well-being and also the effect of well-being on work and cost-related outcomes.

Catholic Student Center Study

We are collaborating with researchers at Duke University on a multi-year study to assess flourishing and also spiritual well-being at a number of Catholic Student Centers around the country. The study data will be useful in assessing how practices, beliefs, and various college experiences and commitments shape career and life decisions, flourishing, and spiritual well-being later in life. The study employs both our flourishing and our Christian spiritual well-being measures. We have collected two waves of data on a pilot sample of students and have launched the full study which will consist of three cohorts of incoming freshmen at Catholic Students Centers at Harvard, Duke, Brown, Iowa State University and Missouri University, with annual data collection during, and after, their college years.

Work and Well-Being Surveys

We are collaborating with the SHINE program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on the development of longitudinal work and well-being surveys, using our flourishing metrics, to assess and promote flourishing in the workplace. The work with SHINE has resulted in a number of well-being data resources, with at least two waves of data, in various workplace settings around the world, including Mexico, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, China, Poland, and the United States.


- Secondary and Other Data Resources -

Many of our analyses and papers have made use of existing data resources concerning health and well-being including the Nurses’ Health Study (NHSI/NHSII), the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS), the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS), the Mid-life in the United States Study (MIUDS), and the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). We also have a number of other data collection efforts in collaboration with the Columbus Foundation, Hangzhou University, the University of British Columbia, the Barna Group, and others, which are at earlier stages of development, with only a single wave of data, often directed at preliminary evidence on the properties of our various well-being measures.