Measuring happiness: the higher order factor structure of subjective and psychological well-being measures

P. Alex Linley, John Maltby, Alex M. Wood, Gabrielle Osborne, Robert Hurling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

210 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The nature and structure of well-being is a topic that has garnered increasing interest with the emergence of positive psychology. Limited research to date suggests two separate but related factors of subjective well-being and psychological well-being. Subjective well-being comprises an affective component of the balance between positive and negative affect, together with a cognitive component of judgments about one's life satisfaction. Psychological well-being is conceptualised as having six components, including positive relations with others, autonomy, environmental mastery, self-acceptance, purpose in life and personal growth. In the current study, we used exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis to examine the higher order factor structure of subjective and psychological well-being in a series of large UK samples. Analyses showed that subjective well-being and psychological well-being loaded separately onto two independent but related factors, consistent with previous research. Further, we demonstrated that these loadings did not vary according to gender, age or ethnicity, providing further support for the robustness of this higher order factor structure. The discussion locates these findings in context and explores future research directions on the associations between subjective and psychological well-being over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)878-884
Number of pages7
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume47
Issue number8
Early online date3 Aug 2009
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Happiness
  • Positive psychology
  • Well-being

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