The collection Measures of Happiness, consists mainly of single direct questions, but also involves instructions for content analysis of ego-documents and schedules for observation of non-verbal behavior. All measures are classified by conceptual focus, time frame, mode of observation and rating scale. Links lead to the studies that used these measures. On this site, the collection can be searched in the several ways. Go to the search screen for Measures of Happiness
Search measures by type
On the search screen you can select measures on the following features:
- Conceptual focus of happiness measures
Happiness is defined as the subjective appreciation of one’s life-as-a-whole. Three variants of happiness are distinguished within that concept: 1) overall happiness, 2) hedonic level of affect and 3) contentment. See Chapter 2 of the Introductory text to this collection of Happiness measures: Concept of Happiness. The measures of happiness in this collection are sorted accordingly. An illustrative overview is available here. Next to these three variants the classification also contains a category of ‘mixed’ measures that address more than one of the variants simultaneously.
- Keyword used in measure
There are also differences in the leading term used in measures of happiness, e.g. in survey questions the concept of overall happiness is variably denoted with terms such as: ‘life-satisfaction’ and ‘quality of life’. Such differences in wording may limit comparability of the responses and for this reason the measures are also coded by the keyword used.
- Time frame of measures
Measures of happiness differ in the period addressed. Some questions refer to happiness ‘right now’, some to happiness during ‘the last year’ and some to happiness ‘in general’. These differences must also be acknowledged for meaningful comparisons and therefore these variations are also meticulously coded.
- Observation mode
Measures of happiness differ in method of observation. The great majority uses single questions, but there are also measures using multiple questions or observation of cheerful appearance by others. Again meaningful comparison of findings requires that such differences in measurement are acknowledged and hence these variations are also carefully coded.
- Rating scale type
Measures of happiness differ in the scales used for recording differences. Some use scales with verbal response options, such as ‘very happy’ or ‘pretty happy’, some use numerical scales and some use open line scales. These differences must also be taken into account when comparing findings yielded with these measures, in particular when observed scores are transformed to a common scale. Therefore these variations in rating scales are also coded.
- Rating scale length
Among the rating scales you can next select the items that use a scale of a particular lengths, e.g. the ones that express happiness in a number between 1 and 10. The number of response options appears in the end of the measure code
Search in text of questions or instructions
You can select measures using a text search of the descriptions. For example using ‘extremely happy’ to find all questions that use this string in either the lead phrase of a question or as a response option.
Search measures by language
All measures of happiness in this collection are presented in English, often translations of text of questions in other languages. When available, the text in the original language is included in the collection. Non-English versions can be selected in two ways: 1) all measures in a particular language can be listed, e.g. all measures in French, and 2) all texts in languages other than English can be searched on (a string of) words, e.g. on the word ‘heureux’.
Available in underlying MS-Access database. Not yet available on this website.
Search measures by study
On this site you can see what measures have been used in earlier studies. You can select studies in particular countries and among particular publics. If, for example, you plan a study on the happiness of adolescents, you can click the category ‘adolescent’ (under Age) and a list of studies among this kind of people will appear on which you can see what measures of happiness have been used.
Select by report of psychometrics
Information about psychometric properties is available for part of the measures in this collection. e.g. on retest stability and ‘Don’t know’ responses. The studies that involve such information can be selected on this site.
You can save a selection you made using the save-icon at the bottom-right of the search screen, as you can see here
Go to search screen for Measures of Happiness