Scaling the heights of positive psychology: A systematic review of measurement scales

Courtney E. Ackerman, Meg A. Warren, Stewart I. Donaldson

Abstract


The volume of empirical research on positive psychology topics has grown substantially over the past two decades.  This review examines how constructs in positive psychology have been operationalized, measured, validated, cited, and applied to build the science. Based on an archive of 972 empirical articles linked to positive psychology, this review found that 762 articles used at least one measurement scale; 312 measures were created or adapted.  Findings reveal a wide range of scales being used to measure a variety of constructs, including scales on both life-enhancing and life-depleting constructs.  Key characteristics such as journals, constructs, and scale development and validation information are discussed.  There are some reliability analyses and validations occurring within the field, but the creation of new measures far outpaces the validation of existing measures.  Weaknesses such as multiple operationalizations may be rooted in inadequate discourse and synthesis.  We call for further cross-pollination for a more scientifically robust scholarship in positive psychology.


Keywords


wellbeing; well-being; happiness; measurement; self-report measures

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5502/ijw.v8i2.734

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