Baylor and Harvard Researchers Partner in Long-Term, Global Study of Human Flourishing

October 29, 2021
Researchers at Harvard University and Baylor University launch the largest initiative of its kind to investigate the determinants of human flourishing.

"The Global Flourishing Study” is a $43.4 million, five-year annual study of 240,000 individuals in 22 countries across a broad range of well-being outcomes.

Watch the Global Flourishing Study LiveStream announcement at 2:30 p.m. CT Friday, Oct. 29, 2021.

WACO, Texas – Social and biomedical scientists at Harvard University and Baylor University have joined forces to launch the largest initiative of its kind to investigate the factors that influence human flourishing. This $43.4 million initiative – “The Global Flourishing Study” (GFS) – will involve a five-year study of 240,000 individuals, representing 22 countries globally, with annual data collection across a broad range of well-being outcomes. This effort includes the data collection and management expertise of Gallup and the stakeholder coordination and open science leadership of the Center for Open Science.

What does it mean to live well? To be truly healthy? To thrive? Researchers and clinicians have typically answered these questions by focusing on the presence or absence of various pathologies: disease, family dysfunction, mental illness, or criminal behavior. But such a “deficits” approach tells only so much about what makes for a life well-lived – about what it means to flourish.

“The Global Flourishing Study is exactly the type of work needed to deeply understand the interplay of key elements in human experience that help us live well, be happy, and experience a sense of meaning and purpose,” said project co-director Dr. Tyler VanderWeele, the John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard, who has published important articles on the assessment of human flourishing in leading scientific journals such as JAMA and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “The longitudinal research design will allow us to substantially advance scientific knowledge on the determinants of human flourishing.”

Project director Dr. Byron Johnson, Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and Director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor, also commented on the data’s significance for better understanding the role of religion in a global context:

“It’s an extraordinary opportunity for the Baylor-Harvard team to lead a panel study like this. Because our sample size is so large, we will be able to examine all of the world’s great religions and the role, if any, that they play in human flourishing.”

For more information about the Global Flourishing Study click this link