This study assesses the measurement properties of Ryff's Scales of Psychological Well-Being (RPWB)-a widely used instrument designed to measure six dimensions of psychological well-being. Analyses of self-administered RPWB data from three major surveys-Midlife in the United States (MIDUS), National Survey of Families and Households II, and the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS)-yielded very high overlap among the dimensions. These large correlations persisted even after eliminating several methodological sources of confounding, including question wording, question order, and negative item-wording. However, in MIDUS pretest and WLS telephone administrations, correlations among the dimensions were much lower. Past research demonstrates that self-administered instruments provide more valid psychological measurements than telephone surveys, and we therefore place more weight on the consistent results from the self-administered items. In sum, there is strong evidence that RPWB does not have as many as six distinct dimensions, and researchers should be cautious in interpreting its subscales.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Factor analysis
- Polychoric correlations
- Psychological well-being
- Survey design