Subjective dimension of mental health: Ukrainian adaptation of the Orientation to Happiness Scale

(Iryna Kryvenko, Galyna Petryk)

Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv, Ukraine

Introduction. Although the questions of well-being and happiness were raised many centuries before, since Martin Seligman became the APA President in 1998, the focus on positive aspects of mental health started being much clearer. Happiness studies became important not only for philosophers and other humanities, but for specialists in wide areas that are called up for making life better. Together with other social practices and services, psychology is one of a kind. Numerous researches show correlations of happiness indicators with low neuroticism (Gomez et al., 2012), good mental (Kiecolt-Glaser et al., 2004) and physical health (Danner et al., 2001) etc. Thus, it is urgent to have good instruments for measuring happiness experience in order to get information for diagnostics and anticipation of heavy stress and negative mental health outcomes.

According to M. Seligman’s concept of authentic happiness (2002), people tend to choose one of three different ways to be happy: through pleasure, through engagement, and through meaning. Orientation to Happiness Scale (OTH), created by C. Peterson, N. Park and M. Seligman (2005), is an 18-item questionnaire for measuring the most typical person’s approach to happiness. However, considerable cross-cultural differences are proved to appear concerning this concept (e.g., Vella-Brodrick et al., 2009; Kose, 2014; Kenkyu, 2011).

Purpose. This research aimed to propose a valid and reliable Ukrainian adaptation of the OTH, and to examine the psychometric properties of the scale.

Design. To reach these aims, firstly, English-Ukrainian double-translation in two variants was made for combining a questionnaire Ukrainian test-version. Later two studies were conducted. Study 1 (N = 468; 122 males, 346 females; age 16-58, Mean = 22.92, SD = 8.9) was for checking structural validity and reliability, Study 2 (N = 123; 59 males, 64 females; age 16-55, Mean = 22.81, SD = 8.2) was for testing time stability, construct and criterion validity.

Results. In Study 1 on the results of explorative factor analysis a three-factor structure due to a theoretical framework was confirmed. Positions of items inside the subscales were slightly different from the Parent Form, although generally the 18-item scale was replicated. The need of items replacement was proved by better α-Cronbach coefficients comparing to the original version item location. The reliability indices for Ukrainian adaptation are.73 for “pleasure”,.80 for “meaning”,.65 for “engagement”. One possible explanation of the differences in the subscales structure is cultural divergence of the orientation to happiness concepts between Ukrainian and American respondents.

Study 2 revealed a satisfactory test-retest stability for each subscale in 4-week period (Spearman rank correlation coefficients between.73 and.81, p<.001). The construct validity of the Ukrainian version of OTH Scale was examined by the analysis of correlations between the questionnaire subscales with SWLS (Deiner et al., 1985), ABS (Bradburn, 1969) and PWBS (Ryff, Keyes, 1995). Positive relations were found at the level of p<.05, which generally corresponds to the results of other researchers and to the theoretical concept. During criterion-validity analysis statistically significant differences (p<.05) in orientations to happiness were shown for religious and non-religious people, reflecting the specificity of connections between happiness, faith and religious behaviour.

Limitations. Certain limitations of the current research should be noted. Firstly, the sex distribution in Study 1 sample is not equal. It was created according to the Parent Scale adaptation sample (Peterson et al., 2005, p. 29), however, the differences between males and females in orientations to happiness were revealed in further researches (e.g. Brdar, 2009). The future study should be focused on links between OTH subscales and socio-demographic variables. Secondly, the some additional statistical procedures (e.g., CFA) can be carried out for testing the three-dimensional model and item locations in the subscales. It is possible to find some other structural solutions (like Anić, Tončić (2013) did, describing only two – hedonic and eudaimonic – orientations, or as Seligman (2011) in his new PERMA model established five dimensions of happiness). Thirdly, in this research we were not controlling personality variables which may possibly moderate the relations between orientations to happiness and different measures of subjective well-being (Vella-Brodricket al., 2009).

Practical value. The received questionnaire may be used by specialists in wide fields of psychological assessment, either for the researches on topics of happiness and subjective well-being, or for evaluation of client’s status on different stages of positive psychology interventions or any other spheres of counseling.

Conclusions. The research demonstrated good psychometric properties of the Ukrainian variant of Orientation to Happiness Scale, namely its internal consistency, satisfactory structural, construct and criterion validity.

Keywords: psychometric test, personality, quality of life, cultural difference, religion, psychology.


1. Anić, P., Tončić, M. (2013). Orientations to Happiness, Subjective Well-being and Life Goals. Psihologijske teme, 22(1), 135-153.

2. Bradburn, N. M. (1969). The structure of psychological well-being. Oxford: Aldine.

3. Brdar, I. (2011). Approaches to happiness, life goals and well-being. In T. Freire (Ed). Understanding Positive Life: Research and Practice on Positive Psychology. Lisbon: Climepsi Editores, 45-64.

4. Danner, D. D., Snowdon, D. A., & Friesen, W. V. (2001). Positive emotions in early life and longevity: Findings from the nun study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80(5), 804-813.

5. Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The Satisfaction with Life Scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71-75.

6. Gomez, V., Allemand, M., & Grob, A. (2012). Neuroticism, extraversion, goals, and subjective well-being: Exploring the relations in young, middle-aged, and older adults. Journal of Research in Personality, 46(3), 317-325.

7. Kenkyu, S. (2011). Orientations to happiness in Japanese people: Pleasure, meaning and engagement. The Japanese Journal of Psychology, 81(6), 619-624.

8. Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K., McGuire, L., Robles, T.F. & Glaser, R. (2002). Emotions, morbidity, and mortality: new perspectives from psychoneuroimmunology. Annual Review of Psychology, 53(1), 83-107.

9. Kose, I.A. (2014). Psychometric Properties of the Orientations to Happiness Scale and Measurement Invariance Between Samples of Turkish and Russian University Students. Social Indicators Research, 122(3), 945-959.

10. Peterson, C., Park, N., & Seligman, M. (2005). Journal of Happiness Studies, 6, 25-41.

11. Ryff C., Keyes C. (1995). The Structure of Psychological Well-Being Revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(4),719-727.

12. Seligman M. (2011). Flourish. NewYork: FreePress.

13. Seligman, M. (2002). Positive psychology, positive prevention, and positive therapy. In C. Snyder & S. Lopez (Eds). Handbook of positive psychology. New York: Oxford, 3-9.

14. Vella-Brodrick, D.A., Park, N. & Peterson, C. (2009). Three Ways to Be Happy: Pleasure, Engagement, and Meaning: Findings from Australian and US Samples. Social Indicators Research, 90(2), 165-179.

Svit One - tools for business Made in Svit