Using Sen’s capability approach and mixed methods to assess wellbeing: The case of working-age persons with disabilities in Trinidad

With Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies at The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago.

Date: 22 February 2021

Venue: Online

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About the seminar

All persons have the right to adequate wellbeing at all stages of life. Many persons however live in deprived conditions globally. While wellbeing can be measured in various ways, the paper favours Sen’s multidimensional capability approach. Via this approach wellbeing is assessed in accordance to the freedom people have to achieve functionings which are things people do or be in life, for example, being sufficiently nourished and being included in society.

In the paper, wellbeing is assessed among working-age persons with disabilities in Trinidad. A multiphase mixed methods design with three phases is employed:

  1. An exploratory phase

  2. An instrument development phase

  3. A convergent design

Functionings of importance are identified in the exploratory phase and used to develop an instrument in the second phase. The instrument contains both closed and open-ended questions that measure wellbeing and collect information on its hindering factors, respectively and is administered in the final phase.

The results indicate that working-age persons with disabilities in Trinidad were deprived in many areas, some of which are usually not captured in traditional poverty assessments, and moreover, provides insights on the societal changes required to ensure adequate wellbeing among them. Overall, the paper demonstrates the usefulness of the capability approach and mixed methods to assess wellbeing.

About the speaker

Dr Bephyer Parey is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) at the St Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI). She was awarded a PhD in Social Policy in June 2019 from the UWI. Her thesis titled: Essays on disability in Trinidad: A mixed methods approach examined disability and inclusion in Trinidad focusing on education of children with disabilities and employment of working-age persons with disabilities. With the overall aim of providing policy recommendations for a life-course oriented inclusion of persons with disabilities, her current research also focuses on older persons with disabilities and social care.

Dr Parey was a visiting scholar at York University, Canada and the University of Alabama, Birmingham, USA and has participated in various local, regional and international conferences. To date, she has presented her research in South Africa, Europe (Austria, Denmark, Ireland), the USA and in the Caribbean. Currently she serves on the MOOC subcommittee of the Mixed Methods International Research Association, and on the editorial board for the International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches.