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Further information on the current measures

Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale (RSE), Morris Rosenberg (1965

Self-esteem refers to a global sense of worth. It is related to personality, behaviour and used in clinical contexts. The questionnaire is a 10-item scale with a four-point response ranging from agree to disagree. The questionnaire is scored by adding the ratings assigned to all the items after reversing scoring of the positively worded items.

Rosenberg’s scale is the most widely used measure of self-esteem in social science research and has been internationally used for over thirty years. The scale has been translated into many languages and has been consistently shown to be reliable and valid. Even critics of self-esteem accept it is the best measure available and that it is reliable and valid. The original sample used by Rosenberg to support this measure consisted of 5,042 high school juniors.  The scale was shown to measure self-esteem over time; all items within the measure correlated with one another; and all the questions measured self-esteem and not something else such as academic success. 

This measure has consistently shown to be reliable and valid for use with teenage populations. It is a short scale and easy to administer.  

Self-esteem is one aspect of how confident we feel about ourselves and our abilities. Low levels of self-esteem have been associated with teenage pregnancy, suicide attempts, depressive incidents and eating disorders. This measure is a particularly important part of feeling confident. High levels of self-esteem correlate with the likelihood of taking risks and feeling happy.


 Blascovich, Jim & Tomaka, Joseph (1993) Measures of Self-Esteem, Pp. 115-160 in J.P. Robinson, P.R. Shaver, and L.S. Wrightsman (eds.) Measures of Personality and Social Psychological Attitudes, Third Edition. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research.

Rosenberg, Morris. (1965) Society and the Adolescent Self-Image, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. (Chapter 2 discusses construct validity.)

Silber, E. and Tippett, Jean (1965) Self-esteem: Clinical assessment and measurement validation, Psychological Reports, 16, 1017-1071 (Discusses multitrait-multimethod investigation using RS).

Life Orientation Test-Revised (Lot-R), M. F. Scheier, C. S Carver & M. W. Bridges (1994)

This is a 10-item scale that measures differences between people in pessimism and optimism. It is revised from an earlier larger scale. Respondents indicate agreement or disagreement with statements using a 5-point scale. There are four ‘filler’ questions in this questionnaire so that what is being measured is not entirely transparent to respondents. There are also some negatively worded items which are reverse scored. The potential range is 0-24. The higher you are to 24 the more optimistic in outlook and explanatory style you are.

The Life Orientation Test (Revised) was developed to assess individual differences in generalised optimism versus pessimism. The measure has been used in a substantial amount of research on the behavioral, emotional and health consequences of this aspect of personality. 

In its initial verification, data from 4,309 subjects was used to assess the reliability and validity of the LOT-R. Measures of optimism over time yielded similar results thus demonstrating consistency. The scale also successfully measured changes in optimism occurring after intervention. It has proven to be a valid scale measuring optimism rather than self-esteem, neuroticism, self-mastery or anxiety. 

Being hopeful about the outcome of future events is extremely important for confidence. If someone feels hopeless in this respect, they will have less confidence that events will turn out well. This may then lead to reduced motivation. Those who are optimistic about the future tend to do better than those who are pessimistic. Being optimistic has been shown to ward off depression and to help buffer difficult situations. Optimism is particularly important for success.  

The LOT-R is short, easy to administer and is suitable for use with adolescents. It is recognised as one of the most effective measures of optimism. 


Scheier, M. F. Carver, C. S. & Bridges, M. W. (1994) Distinguishing Optimism from Neuroticism (and Trait Anxiety, Self-mastery, and Self-esteem): A Re-evaluation of the Life Orientation Test, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 1063-1078 

Scheier, M. F. & Carver, C. S. (1992) Effects of Optimism on Psychological and Physical Well-being:  Theoretical Overview and Empirical Update.  Cognitive Therapy and Research, 16, 201-22

The Satisfaction with Life Scale, Ed Diener, R. A. Emmons, R. J. Larsen, & S. Griffin, (1985)

This is a short, five-item instrument designed to measure, at a global level, peoples’ judgement of their life. The scale was devised by Professor Ed Diener and colleagues. Diener is one of the most respected psychologists working in the area of well-being and happiness. The instrument asks people to make a cognitively based assessment of all domains in life.

Scoring of this questionnaire requires that one just summate the scores for each item. The range of scores should then potentially be from 5-35. 20 is regarded as the neutral point. Studies have previously established that most people cluster within the range 23-28.

The Satisfaction with Life Scale measures how people evaluate their life as a whole. Those who are satisfied with life tend to construe life events more favourably than their less satisfied peers and are more open to learning. High levels of life satisfaction are associated with active participation in social activities and with community involvement. 

Evaluation has shown that the SWLS is sufficiently narrowly focused to assess global life satisfaction rather than related constructs such as positive affect or loneliness. Scores on the SWLS correlate moderately too highly with other measures of subjective well-being, and correlate predictably with specific personality characteristics. SWLS shows good validity with other scales and with other types of assessments of subjective well-being and has also demonstrated sufficient sensitivity to detect change in life satisfaction over time.  
The SWLS has been used internationally with children and adults. It is a reliable and valid measure, easy to use and it is the most accurate tool for measuring a person’s satisfaction with life. Satisfaction with life is an important component of confidence.


Pavot, W. & Diener, E. (1993) Review of the Satisfaction with Life Scale, Psychological Assessment Vol.5 No.2 164-172 1993

Diener, E. Emmons, R. A. Larsen, R. J. & Griffin, S. The Satisfaction with Life Scale, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Journal of Personality Assessment Vol.49 No.1 19

Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS), S. Lyubomirsky & H. S. Lepper (1999)

This is a four-item global assessment of whether one is ‘happy’ or not. Two items are absolute measures and a further two items ask respondents to indicate how near they are to given descriptions of happy and unhappy people. You get a single score for global happiness by averaging the scores BUT you must first reverse score the fourth item. The nearer you are to seven the happier you consider yourself to be.

Happiness has been shown to lead to success. Happy people do well in work and love, and are generally healthier. American studies have shown that those who are happy at college earn considerably more over their careers than do their less happy peers. Feeling happy provides children with resilience against negative life events. Happiness is important for confidence as it provides resources to deal with the setbacks and failures that everyone faces.
The SHS was originally validated from a study of 400 participants using longitudinal data from five different populations (students, adults etc) and in sessions of variable length. The SHS correlates well with other published measures of happiness and with the Satisfaction with Life Scale (see above). It also correlates with peer assessment of happiness. SHS can also be discriminated from other scales such as self-esteem. 

This short scale is recognised internationally as an optimal measure for assessing happiness, is both reliable and valid and is particularly suitable to adolescent populations. It is deemed by most academics to be the best tool to use in measuring happiness.


Lyubomirsky, S. & Lepper, S. H. (1999) A Measure of Subjective Happiness: Preliminary Reliability and Construct Validation. Social indicators Research 46: 137-155, 1999.

The Ego-Resilience Scale, J.  Block & A.M. Kremen (1996)

This is a short 14 item questionnaire which measures a person’s trait level of resilience. Each item is responded to on a four point response scale ranging from 1 (disagree very strongly) to 4 (agree very strongly). Final scores are obtained by computing a mean for the scale. Scores will range from 1 – 4. The higher the score the higher the level of resilience, the lower the score the less resilient (more ego-brittle) the person is.

This scale measures ego-resilience. Ego-resilience is the ability to adapt flexibly to stressful or challenging events in life. Resilience is important for carrying on, and even flourishing, after setbacks.   People who are resilient are more likely to: experience positive emotion; have higher levels of self-confidence; and better psychological adjustment to life events, than individuals with low levels of resilience.  High levels of resilience are related to being assertive and having a high aspiration level.  Ego-resilience is also correlated with several measures of well-being.  Ego-resilient individuals are less likely to be depressed – they score lower on the CES-D depression scale than less resilient individuals.

This short scale is recognised internationally and within the field of Positive Psychology and beyond.  It measures resilience and changes in resilience over time as well as after specific interventions. The scale correlates with peoples own descriptions of themselves.


 Block. J., &  Kremen A.M., (1996) IQ and Ego-Resiliency: Conceptual and Empirical Connections and Separateness, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 
Letzring, T. D., Block. J., Funder. D.C., (2004) Ego-control and ego-resiliency: Generalization of self-report scales based on personality descriptions from aquaintances, clinicians, and the self, Journal of Research in Personality.

The General self-efficacy scale, J.  Schwarzer &  M Jerusalem(1995)

This is a short 10 item scale which measures a person’s general level of self-efficacy. People respond to each item on a four point scale from 1 (not true at all) to 4 (exactly true) Final scores are computed by adding up the scores.  People score between 10 – 40. The higher the score more efficacious they will be.

General self-efficacy is a person’s belief that they can successfully perform a behavior and reach their goals.  It is a belief that they can learn or perform a novel or difficult task, or cope with adversity, in a variety of different situations.  This scale measures a general belief and does not measure a person’s level of self-efficacy in a specific area such as maths, science or sport. 

Self-efficacy is important for attempting challenging tasks and for persevering in the face of setbacks and difficulties.  It is important for  people reaching their goals and trying new things.  General self-efficacy positively correlates with constructs such as optimism and self-regulation and negatively correlates with depression and anxiety.

The scale is freely available, short, reliable and valid.  It has been used internationally and was validated using data from 22 countries.  The scale is now available in 30 languages.


Scholz, U., Gutiérrez-Doña, B., Sud, S., & Schwarzer, R. (2002). Is general self-efficacy a universal construct? Psychometric findings from 25 countries. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 18, No. 3, 242-251.

Schwarzer, R. (1993). Measurement of perceived self-efficacy. Psychometric scales for cross-cultural research. Berlin, Germany: Freie Universität Berlin.

Schwarzer, R., & Jerusalem, M. (1995). Generalized Self-Efficacy scale. In J. Weinman, S. Wright, & M. Johnston, Measures in health psychology: A user’s portfolio. Causal and control beliefs (pp. 35-37). Windsor, UK: NFER-NELSON.

Theories of Intelligence Scale – Self form C.S.  Dweck, C. Chui., & Y. Hong (1995)

This is a short four item scale which measures a person's belief about their own ability: their mindset. The scale measures two beliefs, which lie at either end of a continuum, one of these beliefs is that ability and intelligence is fixed and doesn’t change and the other belief is that ability is not a fixed entity, and can grow and improve over time.  Holding either of these beliefs has certain consequences for motivation, performance and mood.  

The scale includes three questions which measure a fixed mindset and one question which measures a growth mindset. Each item is scored on a 6 point scale from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’.  The reason for having only one growth item is that people have a tendency to answer positively as they consider this to be the ‘right’ answer.  Dweck originally recommended that people use only the three fixed questions.  However, she has refined the questionnaire and the growth mindset question is now included.  Scores are computed by adding up each item and dividing by the number of questions. This will give you a score between 1 – 6. 

Even though the scale we chose is for measuring a person’s own mindset we think that some of the questions are misleading and could be interpreted as a general statement about other people. Due to this, we made some minor changes to the scale e.g. changing ‘you have a certain amount of intelligence, and you can’t really do much to change it’ to ‘I have certain inbuilt talents, like sport of music, and I can’t do much to change what those talents are’.  We spoke to Dweck about our changes and she said that they wouldn’t affect the reliability or validity.

The scale seems to measure something distinct as it does not correlate with other measures of motivation or cognition, and is suitable for people who are carrying out interventions and longitudinal research


Dweck, C.S., Chiu, C., & Hong. Y., 1995 Implicit Theories and their role in judgements and reactions: A world from two perspectives.  Psychological Inquiry.6, 267-285

Levy, S. Stroessner, S., & Dweck . C. S. 1998. Stereotype formation and endorsement: The role of implicit theories.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology., 74, 1421 – 1436.

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