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Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). OECD Guidelines on Measuring Subjective Well-being. Paris: OECD Publishing; 2013 Mar 20.

Cover of OECD Guidelines on Measuring Subjective Well-being

OECD Guidelines on Measuring Subjective Well-being.

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ANNEX BQuestion modules

Module A. Core measures

Objective

This module is intended to provide a minimal set of measures of subjective well-being covering both life evaluation and affect that could be included in household surveys. The core measures included here are the measures for which there is the strongest evidence for their validity and relevance, and for which international comparability is the most important. An experimental measure of an aspect of eudaimonic well-being is also included.

Description

The module contains a single question on overall life satisfaction (A1). This question is intended to capture the respondent's evaluative judgement of how their life is going while imposing the minimum level of respondent burden. It is envisaged that Question A1 will serve as the primary measure of subjective well-being when a single measure is required. Question A2 captures the eudaimonic concept of whether the things the respondant does in their life are worthwhile. Three questions on affect are also included (Questions A3 to A5). These should be included as a group, and are intended to provide a minimal set of questions required to characterise the affective state of the respondent on the previous day.

Box B.1Core questions

The following question asks how satisfied you feel, on a scale from 0 to 10. Zero means you feel “not at all satisfied” and 10 means you feel “completely satisfied”.

A1. Overall, how satisfied are you with life as a whole these days?[0-10]
The following question asks how worthwhile you feel the things you do in your life are, on a scale from 0 to 10. Zero means you feel the things you do in your life are “not at all worthwhile”, and 10 means “completely worthwhile”.
A2. Overall, to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?[0-10]
The following questions ask about how you felt yesterday on a scale from 0 to 10. Zero means you did not experience the feeling “at all” yesterday while 10 means you experienced the feeling “all of the time” yesterday. I will now read out a list of ways you might have felt yesterday
A3. How about happy?[0-10]
A4. How about worried?[0-10]
A5. How about depressed?[0-10]

Origin

The satisfaction with life question is based on that used in the World Values Survey, but amended to use a 0-to-10 scale. Other versions of this question have been used in the European Social Survey, the German Socio-Economic Panel, the British Household Panel Study, the Canadian General Social Survey, and more recently by the INSEE and ONS. The 0-10 response scale format and the use of “completely dissatisified” as a scale anchor have been adopted on the basis of the review of evidence in Chapter 2.

The eudaimonic question is based on the single item measure developed by the ONS in their experimental questions on subjective well-being, used in their Annual Population Survey from April 2011 to March 2012.

The affect questions used here are derived from the Gallup World Poll and the European Social Survey.

Time

The module is expected to take about 90 seconds to complete in total.

Output

Data on life satisfaction can be presented as the mean value of responses, excluding missing values. Standard measures of distribution used should be the standard deviation of responses and the inter-quartile range of responses. The mean value of responses, and the standard error of this estimate, could be used to describe differences in life satisfaction among sub-groups of the population. The percentage of the population reporting a life satisfaction below a “low life satisfaction” threshold could also be usefully reported.

The experimental eudaimonic measure (A2) should be reported in a similar way to the primary measure of life satisfaction (A1).

Information from the affect questions can be presented either as the results of answers to single questions or as a composite index. The answers to individual questions provide information on particular emotional states. The composite measures can be used to summarise negative affect and the respondent's affect balance.

Information on responses to individual questions (A3 to A5) can be presented as the mean value of responses, excluding missing values. Standard measures of distribution used should be the standard deviation of responses and the inter-quartile range of responses. The mean value of responses, and the standard error of this estimate, could be used to describe differences in affect among sub-groups of the population. The percentage of the population reporting a “low” level of a particular mood (below threshold) could also be usefully reported.

Only a single positive affect question is included here A3 (happy), so there is no need to construct a positive affect index.

A composite measure of negative affect is calculated as the average score for Question A4 (worried) and Question A5 (depressed). This will give a value in the 0-to-10 range.

Affect balance can be calculated as positive affect less negative affect for each individual respondent and averaged across respondents. This will give a value ranging from -10 to 10. Affect balance can be reported as the mean score (-10 to 10) but also as the proportion of the population with net negative affect (an affect balance less than 0), sometimes described as a U-index (Kahneman and Krueger, 2006).

Guidelines for interviewers

The primary question (A1) deliberately focuses on how people are feeling “these days” rather than specifying a longer or shorter time period. The intent is not to obtain the current emotional state of the respondent, but to obtain a cognitive evaluation on their level of life satisfaction.

The experimental eudaimonic question (A2) concerns the extent to when people feel their activities in general (“the thing you do in your life”) are worthwhile. No specific time frame is supplied: respondents are invited to make an overall assessment.

Questions A3 through to A5 focus on the respondent's moods and feelings on the previous day. The time-frame is explicitly short because the primary focus is the feelings that people actually experienced, not an overall assessment of how things are going these days. If a respondent indicates that the previous day was unusual in some respect (something particularly bad or good happened, or they were feeling unwell), they should still report how they felt that day. We are interested in the feelings people have actually experienced, not how people feel on a “typical” day. Because a large number of people are being interviewed over a relatively long period of time, unusual events will not overly bias the aggregated statistics that are produced. More importantly, the reference to a specific day permits the data to be used to unravel day-of-week effects and responses to external events for which the dates are known.

Module B. Life evaluation

Objective

This module contains questions on the respondent's cognitive judgements on how they evaluate their own lives. It is not intended to be used in its entirety, but provides a range of possible life evaluation measures that are complementary to the primary measure described in Module A. These measures could be used in circumstances where a more in-depth understanding of subjective well-being is required or to help understand methodological issues in measuring subjective well-being. In all cases, these questions should come after those in Module A.

Description

The life evaluation module contains a range of different questions filling different purposes. Questions B1 (the self-anchoring striving scale or “Cantril Ladder”) and B2 (overall happiness) are alternative ways of measuring the same underlying construct as the primary measure of life evaluation included in the Core module (A1). These may be used to complement the existing primary measure where additional measures would add value.

Questions B3 and B4 capture information on respondent's perceptions of their life satisfaction in the past and anticipated in the future. This provides information about how optimistic or pessimistic the respondent is, but also adds information on the respondent's overall life evaluation, as people's expectations of the future are part of how they evaluate their life.

Questions B5 to B9 together define the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS). The SWLS is one of the best-tested and most reliable multi-item scales of life evaluation, has a higher reliability than single item measures, and is more robust to inter-personal differences in scale interpretation than a single-item measure. It should be noted, however, that this is not a balanced scale, and there is a slightly increased risk of acquiescence/socially desirable responding due to the use of an agree/disagree scale format.

Box B.2Life evaluation questions

Please imagine a ladder with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you.

B1. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time?[0-10]
The following question asks how happy you feel, on a scale from 0 to 10. Zero means you feel “not at all happy” and 10 means “completely happy”.
B2. Taking all things together, how happy would you say you are?[0-10]
The following questions ask how satisfied you feel, on a scale from 0 to 10. Zero means you feel “not at all satisfied” and 10 means “completely satisfied”.
B3. Overall, how satisfied with your life were you 5 years ago?[0-10]
B4. As your best guess, overall how satisfied with your life do you expect to feel in 5 years time?[0-10]
Below are five statements with which you may agree or disagree. Using the 1-7 scale below, indicate your agreement with each item. Please be open and honest in your responding. The 7 point scale is as follows:
1.

Strongly disagree.

2.

Disagree.

3.

Slightly agree.

4.

Neither agree nor disagree.

5.

Slightly agree.

6.

Agree.

7.

Strongly agree.

B5. In most ways my life is close to my ideal[1-7]
B6. The conditions of my life are excellent[1-7]
B7. I am satisfied with my life[1-7]
B8. So far I have gotten the important things I want in life[1-7]
B9. If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing[1-7]

Origin

The Cantril Ladder (B1) was developed by Hadley Cantril in 1961 and has been widely used subsequently. The overall happiness question used here (B2) is based on that used in the European Social Survey 2006/7. Questions B3 and B4 are based on those used by the ONS in the June 2011 Opinion survey, but using the scale anchor “completely dissatisfied”, based on the recommendations of Chapter 2. The SWLS was developed by Ed Diener and William Pavot in 1985, and is used without modification.

Time

Individual Questions B1 to B4 are expected to take around 20 seconds or less each to complete. The group of questions from B5 to B9 are expected to take around 2 minutes to complete in total.

Output

Data on Questions B1 through to B4 can be disseminated as the mean value of responses, excluding missing values. The main measures of distribution for these measures should be the standard deviation of responses and the inter-quartile range of responses. The mean values of responses, and the standard errors of the means, can be used to analyse differences among sub-groups of the population. The percentage of the population reporting a life satisfaction below a “low life satisfaction” threshold could also be usefully reported.

The Satisfaction With Life Scale is calculated as the sum of responses to each of the questions from B5 through to B9. This gives a score of 5 to 35. The mean score should be output, along with the standard deviation as a measure of distribution. A score of 20 represents the neutral point on the scale. Descriptive labels have been attached to mean scores as follows (Pavot and Diener, 1992):

5-9Extremely dissatisfied.
10-14Dissatisfied.
15-19Slightly dissatisfied.
20Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.
21-25Slightly satisfied.
26-30Satisfied.
31-35Extremely satisfied.

Guidelines for interviewers

These questions deliberately focus on how people are feeling about life as a whole rather than specifying a longer or shorter time period and ask the respondents for a reflective judgement rather than a statement of their current mood. Questions B3 and B4 ask respondents to reflect on their judgement of life as a whole five years in the past and how they see it five years in the future. The intent is not to obtain the current emotional state of the respondent, but for them to make a reflective judgement on their level of satisfaction.

Module C. Affect

Objective

This module is intended to collect information on recent positive and negative emotional states. The questions on positive and negative affect capture distinct aspects of subjective well-being that are not reflected in more evaluative measures.

Description

This module includes ten questions on affect yesterday. Questions C1 through to C4 repeat Questions A2 through to A5. They are repeated here in the event that an affect module is included in a survey that does not include affect questions among its core measures. If the core measures are included in full, Questions C1 to C4 can be dropped.

Questions C1, C2, C5 and C10 capture aspects of positive affect. Questions C3, C4, C6, C7, C8 and C9 capture aspects of negative affect. There are more negative than positive questions, reflecting the fact that negative affect is intrinsically more multi-dimensional than positive affect. Questions C2, C4, C6 and C9 can be considered as capturing states of low arousal, while the remaining questions can be considered measures of states of high arousal.

Box B.3Affect questions

The following questions ask about how you felt yesterday on a scale from 0 to 10. Zero means you did not experience the emotion “at all” yesterday while 10 means you experienced the emotion “all of the time” yesterday. I will now read out a list of ways you might have felt yesterday.

C1. How about enjoyment?[0-10]
C2. How about calm?[0-10]
C3. How about worried?[0-10]
C4. How about sadness?[0-10]
C5. How about happy?[0-10]
C6. How about depressed?[0-10]
C7. How about anger?[0-10]
C8. How about stress?[0-10]
C9. How about tired?[0-10]
C10. Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?[0-10]

Origin

The affect questions used here are derived from the Gallup World Poll and the European Social Survey. Minor wording changes have been made on the basis of Chapter 2.

Time

This module is expected to take about 3 minutes to complete.

Output

Information from the affect questions in this section can be presented either as the results of answers to single questions or as a composite index. The answers to individual questions provide information on particular emotional states. The composite measures capture aspects of positive affect, negative affect or the respondent's affect balance.

Information on responses to individual questions can be presented as the proportion of respondents indicating that they experienced the relevant feeling a lot yesterday.

A composite measure of positive affect can be calculated as the mean score for Questions C1, C2, C5 and C10. This will give a value in the 0-to-10 range.

A composite measure of negative affect can be calculated as the mean score for Questions C3, C4, C6, C7, C8 and C9. This will give a value in the 0-to-10 range.

A composite measure of affect balance can be calculated as positive affect minus negative affect for each respondent averaged across all respondents. This will give a value ranging from -10 to 10. Affect balance can be reported as the mean score (-10 to 10) but also as the proportion of the population with net negative affect (an affect balance less than 0), sometimes described as a U-index (Kahneman and Krueger, 2006).

In cleaning and preparing affect data, it is important to screen for response sets. These can be most easily detected when the respondent responds 10 or 0 consistently to all 10 questions, which may indicate a lack of understanding on the part of the respondent, or an unwillingness to respond meaningfully. In either case, the lack of variation will distort subsequent analysis. Hence, such responses (where the respondent gives the same score for all ten questions) should be coded as missing data. Whilst this procedure cannot correct for the more subtle influences of response sets/social desirability biases, it can remove the most obvious data distortions.

Guidelines for interviewers

The aim of this set of questions is to capture information on the respondent's moods on the previous day. The time-frame is explicitly short because we are interested in the feelings that people actually experienced, not an overall assessment of how things are going these days. If a respondent indicates that the previous day was unusual in some respect (something particularly bad or good happened, or they were feeling unwell), they should still report how they felt that day. We are interested in the feelings people have actually experienced, not how people feel on a “typical” day. Because we are interviewing a large number of people, we can expect that unusual events will not overly bias the aggregated statistics that are produced.

Module D. Eudaimonic well-being

Objective

This module contains questions on different aspects of people's psychological functioning. It aims to measure a range of different concepts that are sometimes described as the “eudaimonic” (or “Aristotelian”) notions of well-being.

Description

The questions in the eudaimonic well-being block are relatively diverse and cover a range of different mental attributes and functionings that are thought to constitute mental “flourishing”. These questions are organised into two different groups. The first set of questions (D1 to D6) is on the degree to which respondents agree or disagree with various statements about themselves, while the second set of questions (D7 to D9) is more experiential in nature. This distinction is grounded in how the questions are asked and does not represent an underlying conceptual distinction relating to different elements of eudaimonia. While individual questions may be used in different contexts if there is an identified policy need, the module does not have distinct question sub-groups intended for different purposes.

If the responses to Questions D1 to D9 are to be summed, it should be noted that collectively the items do not offer a balanced scale (with only two negatively-keyed items), and there may be a slightly increased risk of acquiescence/socially desirable responding due to the use of an agree/disagree scale format. Further development of this measure in the future is desirable.

Origin

The eudaimonia module proposed here is based on elements of the European Social Survey well-being module and the Flourishing Scale proposed by Diener et al. (2010). The scale anchor “did not experience this feeling” for items D1-D6 has been changed to “disagree completely”, to ensure consistency between the scale anchors. Items D4 and D8 have also been changed from double-barrelled questions “valuable and worthwhile/calm and peaceful” to single-item measures, so that it is clear which word respondents are reacting to.

Box B.4Eudaimonic questions

I now want to ask you some questions about how you feel about yourself and your life.

Please use a scale from 0 to 10 to indicate how you felt. Zero means you “disagree completely” and 10 means “agree completely”.

D1. In general, I feel very positive about myself[0-10]
D2. I'm always optimistic about my future[0-10]
D3. I am free to decide for myself how to live my life[0-10]
D4. I generally feel that what I do in my life is worthwhile[0-10]
D5. Most days I get a sense of accomplishment from what I do[0-10]
D6. When things go wrong in my life it generally takes me a long time to get back to normal[0-10]
I am now going to read out a list of ways you might have felt during the past week. On a scale from 0 to 10, where zero means you felt that way “not at all” during the past week and 10 means you felt that way “all the time” yesterday, can you please tell me how much of the time yesterday…
D7. … you had a lot of energy?[0-10]
D8. … you felt calm?[0-10]
D9. … you felt lonely?[0-10]

Time

This module can be expected to take 4 minutes to complete.

Output

The nine questions contained in the eudaimonic well-being block are intended to be used independently in order to investigate different aspects of eudaimonic well-being. There is currently no generally accepted multi-item measure of eudaimonic well-being, although several have been proposed in the literature (Huppert and So, 2008).

Information on individual questions can be presented as the mean value of the responses, omitting missing values. Standard measures of distribution used should be the standard deviation of responses and the inter-quartile range of responses. The mean value of responses, and the standard error of this estimate, could be used to describe differences in responses to the various questions among sub-groups of the population. The percentage of the population reporting below a “poor outcomes” threshold could also be usefully reported.

In cleaning and preparing eudaimonia data, it is important to screen for response sets. These can be most easily detected when the respondent scores at the top or bottom of the scale for all nine measures, which may indicate a lack of understanding on the part of the respondent, or an unwillingness to respond meaningfully. In either case, the lack of variation will distort subsequent analysis. Hence, such responses (where the respondent gives an identical score for all questions) should be coded as missing data. Whilst this procedure cannot correct for the more subtle influences of response sets/social desirability biases, it can remove the most obvious data distortions.

Guidelines for interviewers

Questions D1 to D6 assess the degree to which respondents agree or disagree with various statements about themselves. These questions are intended to capture how people see themselves rather than emotions or feelings they have experienced. As a result, the questions are about how people are now, and do not refer to a specific time period.

The second set of questions (D7 to D9) is more experiential in nature. These questions ask about whether people actually experienced the indicated feelings during the previous week.

There is some evidence from cognitive testing that a small proportion of respondents – particularly if they are unemployed or disabled – may experience some distress in answering some questions in this module. Support and training should be provided to interviewers to enable them to respond to these circumstances appropriately.

Module E. Domain evaluation

Objective

The domain evaluation module aims to collect people's evaluative judgements on how well different aspects of their life are going using a similar question format and structure to the question on overall life satisfaction used in the Core measures (Module A). The measures presented here are intended to capture people's satisfaction with respect to particular domains, and are not intended as subjective measures of that domain itself (for example, in the case of the health domain, the question asks “how satisfied are you with your health status” rather than “how would you describe your health status”).

Description

This module contains ten example questions on satisfaction with different aspects of life. Each life domain can be potentially analysed in its own right. In addition, the measures can be summed to calculate a composite index, along the lines of the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI; International Wellbeing Group, 2006), a measure which includes items E1, E2, E3, E4, E5, E6, E7. Questions E8, E9 and E10 are not included in the PWI, but may be of relevance to policy users, or in monitoring specific aspects of well-being in their own right.

Origin

The questions used in this module are derived from the Personal Wellbeing Index or PWI (International Wellbeing Group, 2006) and the domain satisfaction questions used by the ONS in their June 2011 opinion survey. Use of the scale anchor “not at all satisfied” is preferred to other alternatives in the literature.

Time

This module takes 3 minutes to complete.

Output

Information on individual questions can be presented as the mean value of each response, omitting missing values. Standard measures of distribution used should be the standard deviation of responses and the inter-quartile range of responses. The mean value of responses, and the standard error of this estimate, could be used to describe differences among sub-groups of the population. The percentage of the population reporting scores below a “low satisfaction” threshold could also be usefully reported.

Box B.5Domain evaluation questions

The following questions ask how satisfied you feel about specific aspects of your life, on a scale from 0 to 10. Zero means you feel “not at all satisfied” and 10 means “completely satisfied”.

E1. How satisfied are you with your standard of living?[0-10]
E2. How satisfied are your with your health?[0-10]
E3. How satisfied are you with what you are achieving in life?[0-10]
E4. How satisfied are you with your personal relationships?[0-10]
E5. How satisfied are you with how safe you feel?[0-10]
E6. How satisfied are you with feeling part of your community?[0-10]
E7. How satisfied are you with your future security?[0-10]
E8. How satisfied are you with the amount of time you have to do the things that you like doing?[0-10]
E9. How satisfied are you with the quality of your local environment?[0-10]
For respondents who are employed only:
E10. How satisfied are you with your job?[0-10]

The Personal Wellbeing Index can be calculated as the mean score of Questions E1 to E7. Missing values should be omitted. Once calculated, the Personal Wellbeing Index has been interpreted as a multi-item measure of overall life evaluation, albeit quite different in nature and structure to those described in Modules A and B.

In cleaning and preparing domain satisfaction data, it is important to screen for response sets. These can be most easily detected when the respondent scores at the top or bottom of the scale for all aspects (9 or 10, depending on how many were asked). This may indicate either a lack of understanding on the part of the respondent or an unwillingness to respond meaningfully. In either case, the lack of variation will distort subsequent analysis. Hence, such responses (where the respondent gives a consistent maximum or minimum score for all domain satisfaction questions) should be coded as missing data. Whilst this procedure cannot correct for the more subtle influences of response sets/social desirability biases, it can remove the most obvious data distortions.

Guidelines for interviewers

In this series of questions, respondents are being asked to make a series of evaluative judgements about different aspects of their life. Respondents should try not to let judgements about one aspect of their life affect evaluations of other aspects.

Module F. Experienced well-being

Objective

This question module focuses on questions that could be included in a time-use survey. It outlines approaches to collecting information on the positive and negative emotional states that people experienced while undertaking specific activities.

Description

The experienced well-being module has two components. The first component, comprising Questions F1 to F7, is an implementation of the Day Reconstruction Method (DRM) adapted for large-scale time-use surveys. These questions should be used together in the manner described below, and in conjunction with a time-use diary. The questions are repeated for three randomly selected time-use diary episodes.

Box B.6Day reconstruction method questions

I now want to ask you some questions about how you felt yesterday.

The computer has selected three time intervals from your diary that I will ask you about.

[For each episode:]

Between[start time of episode] and [end time of episode] yesterday, you said you were doing [activity]. The next set of questions asks you how you felt during this particular time.

The following questions ask how you feel about yourself and your life, on a scale from 0 to 10. Zero means you did not experience the emotion “at all” at that time while 10 means you experienced the emotion “a lot”” at that time.

F1. Overall, how happy did you feel during this time?[0-10]
F2. Overall, how calm did you feel during this time?[0-10]
F3. Overall, how angry did you feel during this time?[0-10]
F4. Overall, how sad did you feel during this time?[0-10]
F5. Overall, how much pain did you feel during this time?[0-10]
F6. Overall, how tired did you feel during this time?[0-10]
F7. Were you interacting with anyone during this time, including over the phone?[yes/no]
If yes, with whom were you interacting? [include people on the telephone/online chat, etc.]

Note: [Activity] refers to the respondent's primary activity for the episode being discussed.

The second part of the module consists of a single question (F8), which is also intended to be used as part of a time-use diary. Question F8 should generally not be used in conjunction with the DRM, as it is a substitute, and should be completed by the respondent for all time-use diary activities.

Origin

The version of the DRM used here is taken from the American Time Use Survey 2011. Question F8 was taken from the Enquête Emploi du temps 2011. Questions remain unaltered.

Time

The DRM is expected to take 5 to 10 minutes to complete for three activities. Question F8 is expected to add an extra 5 minutes to the time it takes respondents to complete their time-use diary, but has no effect on interview time.

Box B.7Experienced well-being question

Question F8 below should be included in the time-use diary filled out by respondents. See below for an example.

F8. Was this moment pleasant or unpleasant?[from -3: very unpleasant to +3: very pleasant]
Image p266

Comments

The DRM (Questions F1 to F7) should be administered in an interview following the completion of a time-use diary. Because recall is important, it is desirable that the interview take place as soon as possible after the diary has been completed – preferably the day after the day covered by the diary. Question F7 relates to who the respondent was with at the time of the activity, and is conceptually distinct from the affect questions (F1 to F6). If the time-use survey already collects “who with” information, Question F7 can be omitted.

When implementing the question module, three episodes are selected from the time-use diary, omitting episodes when the respondent was sleeping or otherwise unconscious. The procedure to select the episodes should ensure that, over the sample as a whole, there are an adequate number of responses for each major time-use activity. The classification of activities can be drawn from the standard time-use classifications underpinning the survey. The questions are administered to the respondent with respect to each of the three episodes.

Question F8 is included in the time-use diary that the respondent completes rather than being administered in a follow-on interview.

Output

Information from the DRM questions described here (F1 to F7) can be presented both as the results of answers to single questions or as a composite measure of affect balance by activity classification. The answers to individual questions provide information on particular emotional states. The composite measures capture aspects of the respondent's affect balance – positive mood, negative mood, and which of the two is the stronger. In all cases, the answers should be presented with respect to a particular activity.

Information on responses to individual questions can be presented as the mean value of responses, excluding missing values for a particular activity. This will give a value in the 0-to-10 range.

A composite measure of positive affect can be calculated as the average score for Question F1 (happy) and Question F2 (calm), excluding missing values. This will give a value in the 0-to-10 range.

A composite measure of negative affect can be calculated as the average score for Questions F3 (angry), F4 (sad), F5 (pain) and F6 (worry), excluding missing values. This will give a value in the 0-to-10 range.

A composite measure of affect balance can be calculated as the difference of positive affect less negative affect for each respondent divided by 6 and averaged over all respondents. This will give a value ranging from -10 to 10. Affect balance can be reported as the mean score (-10 to 10), but can also usefully be presented as the proportion of the population with net negative affect (an affect balance less than 0), sometimes described as a U-index (Kahneman and Krueger, 2006).

In cleaning and preparing affect data, it is important to screen for response sets. These are evident when the respondent scores at the top or bottom of the scale for all six affect measures. This may indicate a response set due to either a lack of understanding on the part of the respondent or an unwillingness to respond meaningfully. In either case, the lack of variation will distort subsequent analysis. Hence, such responses (where the respondent gives the same score for all six affect questions) should be coded as missing data.

Information from the “pleasant/unpleasant” approach (Question F8) is conceptually similar to affect balance calculated from DRM data, as discussed in the previous paragraphs. Responses to Question F7 can be presented as the mean score for different activity types or the mean score for different demographic groups (e.g. sex, age groups, labour force status).

Guidelines for interviewers

These questions relate to how the respondent felt during a specific episode identified from a time-use diary. It is important that the respondent answers with respect to how they felt during the period of time covered by that episode rather than providing information on how they felt during the day as a whole or what the dominant emotion was during the day.

For Question F5, pain includes both physical and mental pain.

For Question F7, interacting means communicating or responding to someone in some way. This could include both active participation in a conversation, listening to a conference call, or playing a game like tennis or chess.

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