Subjective Happiness Scale

Background:

The Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS) is a 4-item scale of global subjective happiness. Two items ask respondents to characterize themselves using both absolute ratings and ratings relative to peers, whereas the other two items offer brief descriptions of happy and unhappy individuals and ask respondents the extent to which each characterization describes them. The SHS has been validated in 14 studies with a total of 2,732 participants.

Psychometrics:

Results have indicated that the SHS has high internal consistency, which has been found to be stable across samples. Test-retest and self-peer correlations have suggested good to excellent reliability, and construct validation studies of convergent and discriminant validity have confirmed the use of this scale to measure the construct of subjective happiness.

Author of Tool:

Lyubomirsky, S., & Lepper, H. S.

Key references:

1. Lyubomirsky, S., & Lepper, H. S. (1999). A measure of subjective happiness: Preliminary reliability and construct validation. Social Indicators Research, 46, 137-155.

2. Lyubomirsky, S., & Ross, L. (1997). Hedonic consequences of social comparison: A contrast of happy and unhappy people. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 1141-1157.

3. Lyubomirsky, S., & Ross, L. (1999). Changes in attractiveness of elected, rejected, and precluded alternatives: A comparison of happy and unhappy individuals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 988-1007.

4. Lyubomirsky, S., & Tucker, K. L. (1998). Implications of individual differences in subjective happiness for perceiving, interpreting, and thinking about life events. Motivation and Emotion, 22, 155-186.

5. Lyubomirsky, S. (2001). Why are some people happier than others?: The role of cognitive and motivational processes in well-being. American Psychologist, 56, 239-249.

Primary use / Purpose:

The SHS was designed as a brief index of subjective happiness or well being.

Subjective Happiness Scale

For each of the following statements and/or questions, please circle the point on the scale that you feel is most appropriate in describing you.

  1. In general, I consider myself:

            not a very  happy  person 1            2            3            4            5            6            7 a very happy person

  1. Compared with most of my peers, I consider myself:

            happy less 1            2            3            4            5            6            7 more happy

  1. Some people are generally very happy. They enjoy life regardless of what is going on, getting the most out of everything.  To what extent does this characterization describe you?

                not at   all   1            2            3            4            5            6            7   a great deal

  1. Some people are generally not very happy. Although they are not depressed, they never seem as happy as they might be.  To what extent does this characterization describe you?

                not at   all   1            2            3            4            5            6            7   a great deal

Reference:

Lyubomirsky, S., & Lepper, H. S. (1999). A measure of subjective happiness: Preliminary reliability and construct validation. Social Indicators Research, 46, 137-155.