Measuring happiness with a single-item scale

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Ahmed M. Abdel-Khalek
Cite this article:  Abdel-Khalek, A. (2006). Measuring happiness with a single-item scale. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 34(2), 139-150.

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In this study we examined the accuracy of measuring happiness by a single item (Do you feel happy in general?) answered on an 11-point scale (0-10). Its temporal stability was 0.86. The correlations between the single item and both the Oxford Happiness Inventory (OHI; Argyle, Martin, & Lu, 1995; Hills & Argyle, 1998) and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985; Pavot & Diener, 1993) were highly significant and positive, denoting good concurrent validity. Moreover, the single item had a good convergent validity because it was highly and positively correlated with optimism, hope, self-esteem, positive affect, extraversion, and self-ratings of both physical and mental health. Furthermore, the divergent validity of the single item has been adequately demonstrated through its significant and negative correlations with anxiety, pessimism, negative affect, and insomnia. It was concluded that measuring happiness by a single item is reliable, valid, and viable in community surveys as well as in cross-cultural comparisons.

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This study was supported by Kuwait University under Grant No. OP 04/00. The author gratefully acknowledges the able assistance of the Research Administration.

Appreciation is due to reviewers including

Leslie Francis

University of Wales

Welsh National Centre for Religious Education


Gwynedd LL57 2PX

UK. Email

[email protected]

Ruut Veenhoven

Erasmus University Rotterdam

Faculty of Social Sciences

POB 1738



The Netherlands. Email

">[email protected]

Ahmed Abdel-Khalek, Department of Psychology, College of Social Sciences, University of Kuwait, PO Box 68168 Kaifan 71962, Kuwait. Email: [email protected]

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