Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Measuring and Predicting Student Well-Being: Further Evidence in Support of the Flourishing Scale and the Scale of Positive and Negative Experiences

  • 1745 Accesses

  • 23 Citations

Abstract

An increased focus on well-being in university settings has spurred the development of brief scales of both functioning well and feeling good. The objectives of the current study were to generate descriptive findings concerning psychometric properties (e.g., factor structure; reliability) of the recently devised Flourishing Scale (FS) and Scale of Positive and Negative Experiences (SPANE; Diener et al., Soc Indic Res 97:143–156, 2010) with an English-speaking university student sample, and to test associations between the scales and potential predictors of eudaimonic and hedonic aspects of well-being. The FS and SPANE scales were completed by 478 undergraduate students, along with scales measuring 10 human values and both time and material affluence. Descriptive statistics (e.g., means, standard deviations, reliability coefficients) for the FS and SPANE scales were highly similar to those reported by Diener et al. (Soc Indic Res 97:143–156, 2010) and confirmatory factor analysis supported the hypothesized three-factor model (i.e., flourishing, positive feelings, and negative feelings). Self-transcendence and conservation value types were significant predictors of FS scores, whereas only the conservation value type predicted affect balance scores from the SPANE. Time and material affluence were significant predictors of both FS and affect balance scores. Results are discussed in relation to the distinction between eudaimonic and hedonic aspects of well-being.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Bauer, J. J. (2008). How the ego quiets as it grows: Ego development, growth stories, and eudaimonic personality development. In H. A. Wayment & J. J. Bauer (Eds.), Transcending self-interest: Psychological explorations of the quiet ego (pp. 199–209). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

  2. Chan, G., Miller, P., & Tcha, M. (2005). Happiness in university education. International Review of Economics Education, 4, 20–45.

  3. Dambrun, M., & Ricard, M. (2011). Self-centeredness and selflessness: A theory of self-based psychological functioning and its consequences for happiness. Review of General Psychology, 15, 138–157.

  4. Diener, E., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2008). Happiness: Unlocking the mysteries of psychological wealth. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.

  5. Diener, E., & Diener, C. (1996). Most people are happy. Psychological Science, 7, 181–185.

  6. Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 276–302.

  7. Diener, E., & Tov, W. (2012). National accounts for well-being. In K. C. Land, A. C. Michalos, & M. J. Sirgy (Eds.), Handbook of social indicators and quality of life research (pp. 137–157). New York: Springer.

  8. Diener, E., Wirtz, D., Tov, W., Kim-Prieto, C., Choi, D.-W., Oishi, S., et al. (2010). New well-being measures: Short scales to assess flourishing and positive and negative feelings. Social Indicators Research, 97, 143–156.

  9. Dunn, E. W., Aknin, L. B., & Norton, M. I. (2008). Spending money on others promotes happiness. Science, 319, 1687–1688.

  10. Dunn, E. W., Gilbert, D. T., & Wilson, T. D. (2011). If money doesn’t make you happy, then you probably aren’t spending it right. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 21, 115–125.

  11. Helliwell, J., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. (2012). World happiness report. The Earth Institute.

  12. Huta, V. (2012). Linking peoples’ pursuit of eudaimonia and hedonia with characteristics of their parents: Parenting styles, verbally endorsed values, and role modeling. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13, 47–61.

  13. Huta, V., Pelletier, L. G., Baxter, D., & Thompson, A. (2012). How eudaimonic and hedonic motives relate to the well-being of close others. Journal of Positive Psychology, 7, 399–404.

  14. Huta, V., & Ryan, R. M. (2010). Pursuing pleasure or virtue: The differential and overlapping well-being benefits of hedonic and eudaimonic motives. Journal of Happiness Studies, 11, 735–762.

  15. Kashdan, T. B., Biswas-Diener, R., & King, L. A. (2008). Reconsidering happiness: The costs of distinguishing between hedonics and eudaimonia. Journal of Positive Psychology, 3, 410–422.

  16. Kasser, T. (2011). Cultural values and the well-being of future generations: A cross-national study. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 42, 206–215.

  17. Kasser, T., & Brown, K. W. (2003). On time, happiness, and ecological footprints. In J. D. Graaf (Ed.), Take back your time: Fighting overwork and time poverty in America (pp. 107–112). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

  18. Kasser, T., & Sheldon, K. M. (2009). Time affluence as a path toward personal happiness and ethical business practice: Empirical evidence from four studies. Journal of Business Ethics, 84, 243–255.

  19. Keyes, C. L. M., & Annas, J. (2009). Feeling good and functioning well: Distinctive concepts in ancient philosophy and contemporary science. Journal of Positive Psychology, 4, 197–201.

  20. Kristjansson, K. (2012). Positive psychology and positive education: Old wine in new bottles? Educational Psychologist, 47, 86–105.

  21. Krosnick, J. A. (1999). Survey research. Annual Review of Psychology, 50, 537–567.

  22. Leary, M. R., & Guadagno, J. (2011). The role of hypo-egoic self-processes in optimal functioning and subjective well-being. In K. M. Sheldon, T. B. Kashdan, & M. F. Steger (Eds.), Designing positive psychology: Taking stock and moving forward (pp. 135–146). New York: Oxford University Press.

  23. Li, F., Bai, X., & Wang, Y. (2013). The scale of positive and negative experience (SPANE): Psychometric properties and normative data in a large Chinese sample. PLoS ONE, 8, 1–9.

  24. Lindeman, M., & Verkasalo, M. (2005). Measuring values with the Short Schwartz’s Value Survey. Journal of Personality Assessment, 85, 170–178.

  25. Michalos, A. C. (1991). Global report on student well-being: Volume I, Life satisfaction and happiness. New York: Springer.

  26. Michalos, A. C. (2008). Education, happiness and wellbeing. Social Indicators Research, 87, 347–366.

  27. Michalos, A. C., & Orlando, J. A. (2006). A note on student quality of life. Social Indicators Research, 79, 51–59.

  28. Mogilner, C., Chance, Z., & Norton, M. I. (2012). Giving time gives you time. Psychological Science, 23, 1233–1238.

  29. Mongrain, M., Chin, J. M., & Shapira, L. B. (2011). Practicing compassion increases happiness and self-esteem. Journal of Happiness Studies, 12, 963–981.

  30. Oades, L. G., Robinson, P., Green, S., & Spence, G. B. (2011). Towards a positive university. Journal of Positive Psychology, 6, 432–439.

  31. Otake, K., Shimai, S., Tanaka-Matsumi, J., Otsui, K., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2006). Happy people become happier through kindness: A counting kindnesses intervention. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7, 361–375.

  32. Pepper, M., Jackson, T., & Uzzell, D. (2009). An examination of the values that motivate socially conscious and frugal consumer behaviours. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 33, 126–136.

  33. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141–166.

  34. Sagiv, L., Roccas, S., & Hazan, O. (2004). Value pathways to well-being: Healthy values, valued goal attainment, and environmental congruence. In P. A. Linley & S. Joseph (Eds.), Positive psychology in practice (pp. 68–85). New Jersey: Wiley.

  35. Sagiv, L., & Schwartz, S. H. (2000). Value priorities and subjective well-being: Direct relations and congruity effects. European Journal of Social Psychology, 30, 177–198.

  36. Schwartz, S. H. (1994). Are there universal aspects in the content and structure of values? Journal of Social Issues, 50, 19–45.

  37. Schwartz, S. H. (2012). An overview of the Schwartz theory of basic values. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 2(1) doi:10.9707/2307-0919.1116.

  38. Schwartz, S. H., & Boehnke, K. (2004). Evaluating the structure of human values with confirmatory factor analysis. Journal of Research in Personality, 38, 230–255.

  39. Seligman, M. E. P. (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and wellbeing. New York: Simon & Schuster.

  40. Silva, A. J., & Caetano, A. (2013). Validation of the flourishing scale and scale of positive and negative experiences in Portugal. Social Indicators Research, 110, 469–478.

  41. Stevick, R. A., Barnes, J. H., & Orke, S. G. (1990). Comparing survey results of volunteer and randomly-selected subjects. Psychological Reports, 66, 163–166.

  42. Waterman, A. S. (2008). Reconsidering happiness: A eudaimonist’s perspective. Journal of Positive Psychology, 3, 234–252.

  43. Wong, P. T. P. (2011). Positive psychology 2.0: Towards a balanced interactive model of the good life. Canadian Psychology, 52, 69–81.

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank Chantal Beaudoin and Alan Vladicka for their significant involvement in supporting and facilitating this project.

Author information

Correspondence to Andrew J. Howell.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Howell, A.J., Buro, K. Measuring and Predicting Student Well-Being: Further Evidence in Support of the Flourishing Scale and the Scale of Positive and Negative Experiences. Soc Indic Res 121, 903–915 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-014-0663-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Flourishing
  • Positive feelings
  • Negative feelings
  • Human values
  • Time affluence
  • Material affluence