A Well-Being Construct for Veterans’ Policy, Programming and Research

A Well-Being Construct for Veterans’ Policy, Programming and Research

Year published

At Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), the well-being of Veterans and their families is a key goal and indicator of a successful transition from military to civilian life.  However, without a clear description of the well-being concept, measuring that outcome can be difficult.

What is this Research About?

To support the development and evaluation of VAC policies and programs, a well-being framework has emerged over the years.  This paper describes that framework which was developed following in-depth literature reviews and widespread consultations across the Department (VAC). 

What did the Researchers Do?

Using an existing well-being conceptual framework, findings from the Life After Service Studies, literature reviews focused on transition, as well as participation in an international panel on military to civilian transition, the researchers developed a framework which allows for measurement of well-being across seven key life areas or domains: employment and meaningful activity; finances; health; life skills and preparedness; social integration, housing and physical environment, and cultural and social environment.

What did the Researchers Find?

  • A person’s overall well-being is influenced by determinants in each of the seven domains of well-being
  • The framework accounts for two-way causal relationships between domains; e.g., good employment is a determinant of good health, and good health makes it easier to find and keep a good job
  • Because determinants can enhance or worsen well-being, it fluctuates throughout life in response to prior and current influences
  • A person’s well-being at any point in time can be assessed based on the indicators for each key life area
  • Identifying the factors that influence well-being leads to interventions, policies and programs that can enhance the effects of positive influences and mitigate the effects of negative influences
  • Well-being indicators can be used to segment the population across a range of needs from good (most), to potentially precarious or unstable (some), to being in crisis (few)


Thompson JM, MacLean MB, Roach MB, Banman M, Mabior J, Pedlar D. A well-being construct for Veterans’ policy, programming and research. Charlottetown (PE): VAC Research  Directorate Technical Report; 07 September 2016. http://publications.gc.ca/pub?id=9.857304&sl=0