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Happiness Test

Por: | 07 de enero de 2013

By José Luis Ayuso-Mateos, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

In collaboration with the World Health Organization, Spanish researchers have design and validated a short versión of the so called ‘Day Reconstruction Method’, a test developed to assess affective states in people by the Economy Nobel Prize Daniel Kahneman.

The new tool was recently presented in the international journal PLOS ONE. Like the DRM, this instrument allows to quantify the amount of time that people feels good or bad along one day, and to identify which are the most enjoyed activities, and which ones produce more negative emotions.

The main advantage of the new tool is its ‘time of application’. While the DRM requires 45 minutes, the new test requires only 15 minutes, i.e. one third of the time. Moreover, it does not require the use of complex technologies to be applied, and unlike other previously developed instruments such as the Experience Sampling Method, it does not interfere in people’s lives.

The validation test was performed in Jodhpur, Northwest India. The information provided on the affective state of 1,560 people, was similar to that obtained by DRM, which verifies their utility to measure subjective well-being in large population samples.

The design and validation of this instrument is the result of collaboration work between the World Health Organization, and the multidisciplinary research group in Affective Disorders, led by José Luis Ayuso-Mateos at the Department of Psychiatry at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. According to the authors, this test can be used as an indicator of the progress of societies.

Furthermore, it may be used to compare people’s well-being in relation to other variables, such as health, and it may well provide some guidelines for the development of public policies that can improve people’s well-being. Measuring the well-being of citizens is indeed a need that several governments have shown in recent years, after recognizing the limitations of indicators like GDP (gross domestic product), which only consider economic variables when assessing levels social progress.


For more information:

Miret M, Caballero FF, Mathur A, Naidoo N, Kowal P, Ayuso-Mateos JL, Chatterji S. (2012) Validation of a Measure of Subjective Well-Being: An Abbreviated Version of the Day Reconstruction Method. PLoS ONE 7(8): e43887. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043887

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