Away from the mainstream appetite for wellness, the definition of wellbeing literacy is carefully constructed.
To explore the meaning in more detail, let’s first break down how we define this term. Literacy has traditionally meant “the ability to read and write”. Considering that wellbeing communication is a social practice that is not necessarily shared in the written word, here we broaden the definition of ‘literacy’ to include the socio-cultural language surrounding wellbeing.
“Wellbeing literacy is defined as a capability to comprehend and compose wellbeing language, across contexts, with the intention of using such language to maintain or improve the wellbeing of oneself, or others or the world.”
(Oades, Jarden, Hou, Ozturk, Williams, Slemp & Huang, 2021)
From this definition, we can see wellbeing language is multifaceted and requires the intention of improving wellbeing combined with the ability to compose language across contexts.
The five components of wellbeing literacy highlight how this capability is different between individuals. Does the ability we have to use language that describes and encourages wellbeing translate to our experience of wellbeing? When we consider that wellbeing literacy is a capability (something that we have or do not have in varying degrees), it highlights the complexity of the subject – Is wellbeing literacy a driver of wellbeing outcomes?