Fall 2019 - PSYC 391 D400

Selected Topics in Psychology (3)

Wellbeing Measures/Models

Class Number: 10130

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Thu, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    PSYC 201. Other prerequisites vary by topic offering.



Course can be repeated for credit. Students may not take this course for further credit if similar topics are covered. See Psychology department website for course description.


The importance of well-being can be seen within most important areas of life; it is a central component of individual experiences, and has implications for communities, universities, families, healthcare, and many other domains of life. While well-being’s importance is apparent, its definition and measurement can be more elusive. This course will explore different conceptual constructions of well-being as well as its subdomains (such as psychological well-being and physical well-being). As there are multiple ways to conceptualize well-being, there are many measurement strategies to match. This course will investigate a variety of survey scales/questionnaires designed to evaluate well-being, and then critically evaluate the quality and utility of these tools. In addition to providing a background for well-being research, the course uses the topic of well-being to introduce students to basic knowledge regarding the construction and evaluation of survey scales/questionnaires in general.


In this course, students will be introduced to diverse well-being measurement and psychometric research literature, gain knowledge on survey scale design and evaluation with respect to quality and utility. After successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
(a) describe and explain multiple ways of conceptualizing well-being
(b) describe and explain the role of theoretical frameworks in measuring and modeling well-being
(c) describe the issues/strategies in questionnaire design and its evaluation
(d) understand and analyze the data from scales.
This course will help students (a) broaden research/writing skills including use of online research databases, literature review, critique, and synthesis; (b) deepen understanding of essential principles for the conduct of empirical research including measurement, data analysis, and results summary.


  • Participation: 10%
  • Homework: 20%
  • Quizzes (2@10): 20%
  • Test: 25%
  • Final Paper: 25%


Throughout the term, students will have a series of ungraded and graded activities to promote their learning. Through interaction with peers and the instructor, students will obtain feedback on their assignments and in the development of their final paper.

Attendance required.

There is no final exam in this section of PSYC 391


Throughout this course, students will be
(a) discussing and defining well-being;
(b) considering existing scales for measuring well-being;
(c) learning the processes of developing and evaluating survey scales/questionnaires.
Note, however, students are not expected to develop their own scale.


Assigned readings (journal articles, book chapters) - Students will need to access the internet for online research using the University Library system as well as other open-access resources to retrieve, download, and print journal articles and chapters, in accordance with fair use copyright regulations

Recommended Textbook:
1) American Psychological Association (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed. Washington DC: American Psychological Association. ISBN: 978-1-4338-0561-5



Required Material:
Hand calculator


Required Textbooks:
1) Johnson, Robert L., & Morgan, Grant B. (2016). Survey scales: A guide to development, analysis, and reporting. New York, NY: Guilford Press. ISBN: 978-1-4625-2696-3 Paperback

2) Cummins, Robert, A. (2018). Measuring and interpreting subjective wellbeing in different cultural contexts. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 978-1-108-46169-6 Paperback; ISSN: 2515-3986 (Online); ISSN: 2515-3943 (Print). This publication is from Cambridge University Press’s Cambridge Elements: Psychology and Culture Series.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html