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Subjective Happiness Scale

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by Holly Page on 12 December 2012

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Transcript of Subjective Happiness Scale

The pursuit of happiness is centuries old.
Today more then ever before people are looking to increase their happiness. Are You Happy? What Is Happiness? Researchers in the fast growing field of Positive Psychology refer to happiness as subjective well-being, or well-being.

Happiness is defined for the use of this scale as "experience of job, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one's life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile". -Sonja Lyubomirsky The Subjective Happiness Scale was created and developed in 1997 by Sonja Lyubomirsky, P.H.D.

It is a 4-item measure of global subjective happiness.

Using a 7-point Likert scale: the first two items require people to characterize how happy they consider themselves to be.

The second two items provide brief descriptions of happy and unhappy individuals and ask the respondent to what extent these characteristics describe them. The Subjective Happiness Scale The scale can be self scored. The number score for each of the 4 items are averaged to get 1 final number score.

The highest score a person can receive is a 7. The average score is in the range of 4.5-5.5. College students tended to score lower than adults in the workforce or retired individuals whose average score was 5.6.

Individuals that score 4 or below and have felt poorly for more than a few weeks are recommended to complete a depression scale. Scoring The Subjective Happiness Scale
Created By:
Sonja Lyubomirsky, P.H.D. "The happy man is not he who seems thus to others, but who seems thus to himself"
-Pubilius Syrus The SHS was developed and validated in 14 studies with a total of 2,732 participants. Data was collected from high school and college students, community adults in the United States as well as Russia.

Results indicated a high internal consistency which was found to be stable across samples. Test and re-test and peer correlations suggest good to excellent reliability and construct validation. Reliability and Validity In all samples the 4-items showed good to excellent internal consistency when compared across varying ages, occupations, languages and cultures.

The Alpha's ranged from 0.79-0.94 (m=0.86). Only 1 of the 14 studies fell below a 0.80. A 0.79 was observed with-in the Russian adult community.

Longitudinal data was also collected from 5 samples and the SHS demonstrated stability over time. The lag time ranged from 3 weeks to 1 year. The test re-test reliability ranged from 0.55-0.90 (m=72) with the lowest score of stability found at 1 year. Reliability & Validity SHS showed construct validity indicating that it correlates highly with other happiness measures and moderately with constructs that are theoretically and empirically related to happiness and well being.

The SHS was also tested using informant reports to provide a validation check on self- report bias. Informants ranged from spouses to room-mates. The results show substantial agreement between self-other rating. Correlations ranged from 0.41-0.66 (m=0.54)

Evidence of discriminant validity was further obtained with very low correlations with theoretically unrelated constructs such as academic success and stressful events Reliability & Validity Pros Cons Sonja Lyubomirsky is a professor of psychology at the University of California. She received her A.B. from Harvard and her P.H.D. from Stanford. Dr. Lyubomirsky has been a leading researcher in the field of happiness for 20 years.

She defines herself as a someone within the subjectivist tradition; meaning that happiness/well-being is inherently subjective to an individual and must be defined by that person.

Dr. Lyubomirsky believes that 40% of our capability for happiness is underdeveloped and with-in our power to change. She believes 50% of a persons happiness is set and only 10% of a persons happiness can be attributed to life circumstances. Sonja Lyubomirsky, P.H.D. The SHS is free and easy to obtain.

It is self-scored.

It takes almost no time to take.

It could possibly help detect the onset of depression.

Personal insight and inventory, leading to more self-awareness and increased happiness. Could cause a person who is already is feeling low more feelings of low-self worth.


Self-fulfilling prophecy??? Lyubomirsky S, Lepper H. (1999). A Measure of Subjective Happiness: Preliminary Reliability and Construct Validation. Social Indicators Research 46, 137-155.

Lyubomirsky S. (2008) The How of Happiness: the Subjective Happiness Scale. Retrieved from: http://www.cnbc.com/id/25708575//

Penn State Positive Psychology Center. (n.d.) Positive Psychology. Retrieved from: http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/

Lyon, L.(2009) How Positive Psychology Can Increase Your Happiness. Retrieved from: http://usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behaviors/articles/2009/06/24/how positive psychology can increase References
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