Sunday, October 19, 2014

Oxford Happiness Questionnaire

by Dr. Steve Wright

The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire was developed by psychologists Michael Argyle and Peter Hills at Oxford University. Take a few moments to take the survey. This is a good way to get a snapshot of your current level of happiness. You can even use your score to compare to your happiness level at some point in the future by taking the survey again. If you are using some of the interventions presented on this site to raise your happiness level, you can see whether your score on the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire goes up as a result.


Below are a number of statements about happiness. Please indicate how much you agree or disagree with each by entering a number in the blank after each statement, according to the following scale:
1 = strongly disagree
2 = moderately disagree
3 = slightly disagree
4 = slightly agree
5 = moderately agree
6 = strongly agree

Please read the statements carefully, because some are phrased positively and others negatively. Don’t take too long over individual questions; there are no “right” or “wrong” answers (and no trick questions). The first answer that comes into your head is probably the right one for you. If you find some of the questions difficult, please give the answer that is true for you in general or for most of the time.

The Questionnaire

1. I don’t feel particularly pleased with the way I am. (R) _____
2. I am intensely interested in other people. _____
3. I feel that life is very rewarding. _____
4. I have very warm feelings towards almost everyone. _____
5. I rarely wake up feeling rested. (R) _____
6. I am not particularly optimistic about the future. (R) _____
7. I find most things amusing. _____
8. I am always committed and involved. _____
9. Life is good. _____
10. I do not think that the world is a good place. (R) _____
11. I laugh a lot. _____
12. I am well satisfied about everything in my life. _____
13. I don’t think I look attractive. (R) _____
14. There is a gap between what I would like to do and what I have done. (R) _____
15. I am very happy. _____
16. I find beauty in some things. _____
17. I always have a cheerful effect on others. _____
18. I can fit in (find time for) everything I want to. _____
19. I feel that I am not especially in control of my life. (R) _____
20. I feel able to take anything on. _____
21. I feel fully mentally alert. _____
22. I often experience joy and elation. _____
23. I don’t find it easy to make decisions. (R) _____
24. I don’t have a particular sense of meaning and purpose in my life. (R) _____
25. I feel I have a great deal of energy. _____
26. I usually have a good influence on events. _____
27. I don’t have fun with other people. (R) _____
28. I don’t feel particularly healthy. (R) _____
29. I don’t have particularly happy memories of the past. (R) _____

Calculate your score

Step 1. Items marked (R) should be scored in reverse:
If you gave yourself a “1,” cross it out and change it to a “6.”
Change “2″ to a “5″
Change “3″ to a “4″
Change “4″ to a “3″
Change “5″ to a “2″
Change “6″ to a “1″

Step 2. Add the numbers for all 29 questions. (Use the converted numbers for the 12 items that are reverse scored.)
Step 3. Divide by 29. So your happiness score = the total (from step 2) divided by 29.

Record your score and the date. Then you’ll have the option to compare your score now with your score at a later date. This can be especially helpful if you are trying some of the exercises, and actively working on increasing your happiness.


1-2 : Not happy. If you answered honestly and got a very low score, you’re probably seeing yourself and your situation as worse than it really is. I recommend taking the Depression Symptoms test (CES-D Questionnaire) at the University of Pennsylvania’s “Authentic Happiness” Testing Center. You’ll have to register, but this is beneficial because there are a lot of good tests there and you can re-take them later and compare your scores.

2-3 : Somewhat unhappy. Try some of the exercises on this site like the Gratitude Journal & Gratitude Lists, or the Gratitude Visit.

3-4 : Not particularly happy or unhappy. A score of 3.5 would be an exact numerical average of happy and unhappy responses. Some of the exercises mentioned just above have been tested in scientific studies and have been shown to make people lastingly happier.

4 : Somewhat happy or moderately happy. Satisfied. This is what the average person scores.

4-5 : Rather happy; pretty happy.

-6 : Very happy. Being happy has more benefits than just feeling good. It’s correlated with benefits like health, better marriages, and attaining your goals.

6 : Too happy. Yes, you read that right. Recent research seems to show that there’s an optimal level of happiness for things like doing well at work or school, or for being healthy, and that being “too happy” may be associated with lower levels of such things.

The highest score you can get on an item is a 6, and the lowest a 1. If you add up all your scores and divide by the number of questions (29 questions), you’d get an average score for all the questions. The highest possible average would be 6, the lowest possible would be 1. Right in the middle would be 3.5, so you might think that’s what the average person would get, but this is just a raw score. In fact, other studies show that people are generally somewhat happy on average. So it may not be surprising to hear that the average score on the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire is right around a 4, which is essentially what you got (since you got 3.9 out of 6).

Rather than compare yourself to other people, it’s probably more meaningful to compare your score now to your score later, and see if there’s a change. Some of the exercises on this site have been shown in scientific studies to make a lasting, positive impact on happiness.

Hills, P., & Argyle, M. (2002). The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire: a compact scale for the measurement of psychological well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 33, 1073–1082.

How happy are you?
Natalia Levis-Fox

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