A Measure of Subjective Happiness: Preliminary Reliability and Construct Validation

Research paper by Sonja Lyubomirsky, Heidi S. Lepper

Indexed on: 01 Feb '99Published on: 01 Feb '99Published in: Social indicators research


Using a ''subjectivist'' approach to the assessment of happiness, a new 4-item measure of global subjective happiness was developed and validated in 14 studies with a total of 2 732 participants. Data was collected in the United States from students on two college campuses and one high school campus, from community adults in two California cities, and from older adults. Students and community adults in Moscow, Russia also participated in this research. Results indicated that the Subjective Happiness Scale has high internal consistency, which was found to be stable across samples. Test-retest and self-peer correlations suggested good to excellent reliability, and construct validation studies of convergent and discriminant validity confirmed the use of this scale to measure the construct of subjective happiness. The rationale for developing a new measure of happiness, as well as advantages of this scale, are discussed.