Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

A hierarchy of happiness? Mokken scaling analysis of the Oxford Happiness Inventory

Stewart, Mary E.; Watson, Roger; Clark, Andrea; Ebmeier, Klaus P.; Deary, Ian J.


Mary E. Stewart

Andrea Clark

Klaus P. Ebmeier

Ian J. Deary


The items of the Oxford Happiness Inventory (OHI), a self-report assessment of happiness, are subjected to an analysis for hierarchy among its items. By using Mokken scaling analyses we can assess whether items can reliably be ordered between persons as severity indicators on a latent trait; in this case, a latent trait of Happiness. OHI item-level data from 1024 participants were entered into the Mokken Scaling Procedure (MSP) seeking reliable scales with H > 0.30. 12 OHI items formed a reliable and statistically significant hierarchy. However, the MSP values indicate a 'weak' scale. The 'most difficult' (happiest) item on the scale is 'feeling energetic' and the 'least difficult' (least happy) is 'I have fun'. Items in the scale are consistent with what is already known about both happiness and low mood. The reduction in the OHI's items from twenty-nine to twelve in the Mokken scale may have utility making it more accessible to participants as well as identifying items with reliably different levels of 'difficulty'.


Stewart, M. E., Watson, R., Clark, A., Ebmeier, K. P., & Deary, I. J. (2010). A hierarchy of happiness? Mokken scaling analysis of the Oxford Happiness Inventory. Personality and individual differences, 48(7), 845-848.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 8, 2010
Online Publication Date Mar 5, 2010
Publication Date 2010-05
Print ISSN 0191-8869
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
Issue 7
Pages 845-848
Keywords Happiness; Mokken scaling; Oxford Happiness Inventory; Mood; Latent trait; Item response theory
Public URL