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New Well-being Measures: Short Scales to Assess Flourishing and Positive and Negative Feelings

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Measures of well-being were created to assess psychological flourishing and feelings—positive feelings, negative feelings, and the difference between the two. The scales were evaluated in a sample of 689 college students from six locations. The Flourishing Scale is a brief 8-item summary measure of the respondent’s self-perceived success in important areas such as relationships, self-esteem, purpose, and optimism. The scale provides a single psychological well-being score. The measure has good psychometric properties, and is strongly associated with other psychological well-being scales. The Scale of Positive and Negative Experience produces a score for positive feelings (6 items), a score for negative feelings (6 items), and the two can be combined to create a balance score. This 12-item brief scale has a number of desirable features compared to earlier measures of positive and negative emotions. In particular, the scale assesses with a few items a broad range of negative and positive experiences and feelings, not just those of a certain type, and is based on the amount of time the feelings were experienced during the past 4 weeks. The scale converges well with measures of emotions and affective well-being.

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Correspondence to Ed Diener.



1.1 Scale of Positive and Negative Experience

© Copyright by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener, January 2009.

Please think about what you have been doing and experiencing during the past 4 weeks. Then report how much you experienced each of the following feelings, using the scale below. For each item, select a number from 1 to 5, and indicate that number on your response sheet.

  1. 1.

    Very rarely or never

  2. 2.


  3. 3.


  4. 4.


  5. 5.

    Very often or always

    • Positive

    • Negative

    • Good

    • Bad

    • Pleasant

    • Unpleasant

    • Happy

    • Sad

    • Afraid

    • Joyful

    • Angry

    • Contented

Scoring: The measure can be used to derive an overall affect balance score, but can also be divided into positive and negative feelings scales.

Positive feelings (SPANE-P): Add the scores, varying from 1 to 5, for the six items: positive, good, pleasant, happy, joyful, and contented. The score can vary from 6 (lowest possible) to 30 (highest positive feelings score).

Negative feelings (SPANE-N): Add the scores, varying from 1 to 5, for the six items: negative, bad, unpleasant, sad, afraid, and angry. The score can vary from 6 (lowest possible) to 30 (highest negative feelings score).

Affect balance (SPANE-B): The negative feelings score is subtracted from the positive feelings score, and the resultant difference score can vary from -24 (unhappiest possible) to 24 (highest affect balance possible). A respondent with a very high score of 24 reports that she or he rarely or never experiences any of the negative feelings, and very often or always has all of the positive feelings.

1.2 Flourishing Scale

© Copyright by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener, January 2009.

Below are eight statements with which you may agree or disagree. Using the 1–7 scale below, indicate your agreement with each item by indicating that response for each statement.

  1. 7.

    Strongly agree

  2. 6.


  3. 5.

    Slightly agree

  4. 4.

    Mixed or neither agree nor disagree

  5. 3.

    Slightly disagree

  6. 2.


  7. 1.

    Strongly disagree

    • I lead a purposeful and meaningful life

    • My social relationships are supportive and rewarding

    • I am engaged and interested in my daily activities

    • I actively contribute to the happiness and well-being of others

    • I am competent and capable in the activities that are important to me

    • I am a good person and live a good life

    • I am optimistic about my future

    • People respect me

Scoring: Add the responses, varying from 1 to 7, for all eight items. The possible range of scores is from 8 (lowest possible) to 56 (highest PWB possible). A high score represents a person with many psychological resources and strengths.

1.3 Permission for Using the Scales

Although copyrighted, the SPANE and Flourishing Scale may be used as long as proper credit is given. Permission is not needed to employ the scales and requests to use the scales will not be answered on an individual basis because permission is granted here. This article should be used as the citation for the scales, and this note provides evidence that permission to use the scales is granted.

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Diener, E., Wirtz, D., Tov, W. et al. New Well-being Measures: Short Scales to Assess Flourishing and Positive and Negative Feelings. Soc Indic Res 97, 143–156 (2010).

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