Research on happiness has been abundant over the last few decades and findings have repeatedly shown that people who are happier have better life outcomes in terms of health and in nearly all other aspects of functioning. Thus, it is crucial to continue studying the construct using valid and reliable measurements. Single-item rating scales have been shown to be psychometrically sound and more convenient in comparison to multiple-item measures designed to measure certain constructs. The aim of the present study was to test the reliability and convergent and divergent validity of a single-item happiness scale, the Aréchiga-Moldovan Happy Scale (AM Happy Scale). Participants included 275 adults between the ages of 64 to 81 (M = 71.51, SD = 3.85; 63.6% female; 77.1% White, 10.5% Hispanic, 6.2% Black, and 4.7% Asian) recruited from Loma Linda, California and the surrounding communities. This population was chosen due to progressive increases in life expectancy and rates of older adults in the workforce that highlight the importance of prevention and maintenance of health. The overall range for the minimum reliability estimate of the AM Happy Scale was .27 to 1.06. The AM Happy Scale showed a convergent relationship with the Positive Affect subscale of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS; rs = .57, p < .001) and the Spirituality Index of Well-Being (rs = .50, p < .001). The AM Happy Scale showed a divergent relationship with the Negative Affect subscale of the PANAS (rs = -.38, p < .001) and the Patient Health Questionnaire (rs = -.42, p < .001). Additionally, the AM Happy Scale also demonstrated a positive relationship with the 12-item Short-Form Health Survey, a measure of mental (rs = .51, p < .001) and physical health (rs = .26, p < .001). Findings from this study have serious clinical implications indicating that a brief measure of happiness may be a quick and efficient way to assess an individual’s overall sense of well-being, which is also associated with his or her physical health.

LLU Discipline

Clinical Psychology




School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Arechiga, Adam L.

Second Advisor

Berk, Lee

Third Advisor

Boyd, Kendal C.

Fourth Advisor

Morrell, Holly E. R.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Happiness -- Health aspects; Well-being; Quality of Life

Subject - Local

Single-Item Rating Scales; Arechiga-Moldovan Happy Scale; Spirituality Index of Well-Being; Short-form Health Survey



Page Count


Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives