Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS)

This measure is for adultsThis is a free measure

The SHS, which assesses self-perceptions of happiness, had its reliability and validity proven in 14 studies of adults, college students, and high school students (Lyubomirsky & Lepper, 1999, p. 137). This measure is based on the theoretical Happiness Pie Equation that attributes half of your potential happiness to your genes, ten percents to your life circumstances, and forty percent to your choices (Lyubomirsky, 2018).   It consists of four self-report questions.This theoretical equation for wellbeing has come under recent criticism for its research sources and its accuracy in allocating only 10% of happiness to result from life circumstances. Current research shows the percentage may be higher and may vary greatly depending on the individual. Similarly, this model has been criticized for being overly simplified (McQuaid, Brown, & Rohrer, 2018). However, how this criticism impacts the survey is still unknown.

  • Pros for Schools

Cons for Schools


Statement that only 10% of happiness is related to life circumstances is under review *

Suggestion for Further Research

Brown, N. J. L., & Rohrer, J. M. (2018). Re-slicing the “happiness pie”: A re-examination of the determinants of well-being. 

Lyubomirsky, S., & Lepper, H. (1999). A measure of subjective happiness: Preliminary reliability and construct validation. Social Indicators Research, 46, 137-155. 

*McQuaid, M. (host). (n.d.).Do we have the equation for happiness wrong? Podcast with Nick Brown [audio podcast episode].  In Making Positive Psychology Work. 

Lyubomirsky, S. (2020). Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS). 

Lyubomirsky., S. (2018). Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS). 


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