How do psychologists measure happiness?

Ronald Siegel
Well-being, of course, is a very subjective and individual experience. Happiness is generally defined as feelings of contentment or joy; the overall experience of pleasure, well-being, and meaning in life. In order to look at happiness scientifically, psychologists have sought ways to measure satisfaction that can be used to compare one group of people with another, and to track individuals over time to assess the impact of life events or interventions. These measures focus on people's emotions and how they assess their lives.

Some measures, such as the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, frequently used by researchers, ask people to rate their current experience of various positive and negative emotions. Others ask people to think about their lives and rate their satisfaction. Satisfaction measures may focus on a specific domain of life, such as health or career, or they may ask more general questions that rate overall satisfaction, factoring in various aspects of life.

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