Ryff’s Psychological Well-Being Scales 

Stanford University Department of Psychology developed the SPARQ (Social Psychological Answers to Real-World Questions) toolkit

Developed by psychologist Carol D. Ryff, the 42-item Psychological Wellbeing (PWB) Scale measures six aspects of wellbeing and happiness: autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations with others, purpose in life, and self-acceptance. Of these, it has been demonstrated that four factors (environmental mastery, personal growth, purpose in life and self-acceptance) are highly inter-related.

The combination of these factors provides a second-order general well-being factor which has greater predictability.

Members of Gameof.life will have the opportunity to have their psychological wellbeing evaluated in each of these six areas. Each area comprises 7 statements to which the interviewee assigns a score of 1 to 6 where 1 is “Strongly Disagree” and 6 is “Strongly Agree”.

With only 6 choices, choosing a 6 to signify strongly agree will automatically put you in the 100’th percentile for that question. That is because there is no higher value answer. However, it is obvious that some of the people who give a 6 value will feel more strongly than others who also give a 6 value.  We have adjusted the scoring by essentially assigning an internal value which is the midpoint of your answer and the next lowest answer. So in answering the questionnaire, if you agree strongly or disagree strongly, don’t hold back in assigning a 6 or 1 answer respectively.   

Some of the statements in the general well being set have greater predictability than others. We have therefore incorporated the loadings relevant to these questions so that your answers to these questions will have an impact based on the loading.

Members of GameOf.life will be invited to complete a question a day, As there are 7 questions in each set, that means that each week for six weeks there will be a new set of factors.

As each question is answered the member will see how his or her answer ranks relative to the general population.  The ranking will be influenced by the loading defining the predictability of that question so that if the member’s answers are positive in the more predictable statements his or her overall ranking will improve.

Some questions are reverse scored which means that a positive assessment is assigned if the member disagrees with the statement.

The interviewee will not know the loadings or which questions have reverse scoring.

At the end of each week, there will be a short report on the relevant subset.

At the end of 6 weeks there will be a report on the full 42 statement questionnaire together with an assessment of the “general well-being” factor.

What does Psychological Well-Being mean?

Positive psychological functioning includes such perspectives as Maslow’s (1968)

conception of self-actualization, Rogers’s (1961) view of the fully functioning person, Jung’s (1933; Von Franz, 1964) formulation of individuation, and Allport’s (1961) conception of


When one reviews the characteristics of well-being described in these various formulations, it becomes apparent that many theorists have written about similar features of positive psychological functioning. 

These points of convergence are summarized in Ryff’s six subcategories


There is considerable emphasis in the prior literature on such qualities as self-determination, independence, and the regulation of behaviour from within. The fully functioning person is also described as having an internal locus of evaluation, whereby one does not look to others for approval, but evaluates oneself by personal standards.

Individuation is seen to involve deliverance from convention, in which the person no longer clings to the collective fears, beliefs, and laws of the masses. The process of turning inward in the later years is also seen by life span developmentalists to give the person a sense of freedom from the norms governing everyday life.

Positive relations with others. 

The ability to love is viewed as a central component of mental health. Self-actualizers are described as having strong feelings of empathy and affection for all human beings and as being capable of greater love, deeper friendship, and more complete identification with others. Positive relations with others is repeatedly stressed in these conceptions of psychological wellbeing.

Environmental mastery. 

The individual’s ability to choose or create environments suitable to his or her psychic conditions is deemed as a characteristic of mental health. Maturity is seen to require participation in a significant sphere of activity outside of self. Life span development is also described as requiring the ability to manipulate and control complex environments. These theories emphasize one’s ability to advance in the world and change it creatively through physical or mental activities. Successful aging also emphasizes the extent to which the individual takes advantage of environmental opportunities. These combined perspectives suggest that active participation in and mastery of the environment are important ingredients of an integrated framework of positive psychological functioning. 

General Well Being

The following four factors are inter-related and together provide a more predictable assessment of what could be described as general well being.

Purpose in life. 

Mental health is deemed to include beliefs that give one the feeling there is purpose in and meaning to life. The definition of maturity also emphasizes a clear comprehension of life’s purpose, a sense of directedness, and intentionality. The life span developmental theories refer to a variety of changing purposes or goals in life, such as being productive and creative or achieving emotional integration in later life. Thus, one who functions positively has goals, intentions, and a sense of direction, all of which contribute to the feeling that life is meaningful. 

Personal growth. 

Optimal psychological functioning requires not only that one achieve the prior characteristics, but also that one continue to develop one’s potential, to grow and expand as a person. The need to actualize oneself and realize one’s potentialities is central to the clinical perspectives on personal growth. Openness to experience, for example, is a key characteristic of the fully functioning person. Such an individual is continually developing and becoming, rather than achieving a fixed state wherein all problems are solved. Life span theories also give explicit emphasis to continued growth and the confronting of new challenges or tasks at different periods of life..

It may also be the dimension of well-being that comes closest to Aristotle’s notion of eudaimonia (happiness).  


The most recurrent criterion of well-being evident in the previous perspectives is the individual’s sense of self-acceptance. This is denned as a central feature of mental health as well as a characteristic of self-actualization, optimal functioning, and maturity. Life span theories also emphasize acceptance of self and of one’s past life. Thus, holding positive attitudes toward oneself emerges as a central characteristic of positive psychological functioning.