A number of explicit conceptions of well-being have been provided by philosophers and psychologists, but little is known about laypersons’ conceptions of well-being. Two studies investigating the content and measurement of lay conceptions of well-being are presented. Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analytic procedures, the 16-item Beliefs about Well-Being Scale (BWBS) was developed to measure lay conceptions of well-being along four theoretically-meaningful dimensions: (1) the Experience of Pleasure, (2) Avoidance of Negative Experience, (3) Self-Development, and (4) Contribution to Others. Initial evidence concerning the reliability and validity of the BWBS indicated that this new scale has acceptable psychometric properties. In both studies, associations between each subscale, representing the above four dimensions, and multiple self-report measures of experienced well-being were also examined. Each subscale was significantly associated with well-being, with Self-Development and Contribution to Others indicating stronger associations with measures of well-being than either Experience of Pleasure or Avoidance of Negative Experience. Implications for future research using this economical new scale are discussed.
McMahan, E. A., &Estes, D. (2011). Measuring lay conceptions of well-being: The beliefs about well-being scale. Journal of Happiness Studies, 12(2), 267-287.