Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dominick D. Pellegreno


The purpose of this study was to develop an instrument which would be capable of identifying sources of perceived happiness potentially related to a university population. This process involved hypothesizing a priori sources of happiness, developing an instrument, then collecting and analyzing data among several American and International groups at Iowa State University. The Actual and Ideal Happiness Scale (AIHS) was developed as the result of this process;A total of 831 subjects participated in this study; 301 subjects were used in the development of the pilot study instrument (Current Happiness Scale) and 530 subjects were used in the development of the main study instrument (AIHS). The data for this study were gathered during the Fall, 1986 and Spring, 1987 semesters at Iowa State University. All subjects were asked to participate on a voluntary basis;The data collected as a result of the pilot study were factor analyzed according to a priori hypothesized factors, and the instrument was revised as the AISH. It consisted of thirty statements to which subjects responded as to how much each statement would contribute to their "actual" and "ideal" perceptions of happiness. These data were analyzed using three methods: factor analysis, mean score comparisons, and paired t-tests;The results of the data analysis showed that construct validity was demonstrated on four factors which consistently appeared among the American and International subjects' responses: Social Relationships, Goal Striving, Assisting Others, and Physical Attractiveness;When mean score comparisons were applied among American and International groups, significant differences were revealed especially on items related to Physical Appearance, Social Relationships, and the Desire for Learning factors;Paired t-tests revealed significant differences among individuals' "actual" and "ideal" happiness perceptions. Twenty five out of the AIHS's thirty items were found to be significant at the p <.001 level. This finding suggests that discrepancies existed between subjects' conceptions of their actual and ideal happiness sources.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Cynthia L. Taylor



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

133 pages