Carnegie Mellon University

Psychological Well-Being


Ryff Scales of Psychological Well-Being


PMBC (Positive Relationships Subscale Only), PCS2, PCS3

Copyright Information

Not a copyrighted scale

Institutions or organizations interested in using the Ryff Scales of Psychological Well-Being should send a request and description of how the instrument will be used to Dr. Carol Ryff; University of Wisconsin; Institute on Aging; 2245 Medical Sciences Center; 1300 University Avenue; Madison, WI 53706; Phone: (608) 262-1818; Fax: (608) 263-6211; email: Dr. Ryff requests that institutions or organizations provide her with the results of their study and any subsequent journal article citations.

Primary Reference

Ryff, C. D., (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations of the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1069-1081.


To assess psychological well-being as four constructs: Self-Acceptance, Positive Relationships with Others, Environmental Mastery, & Purpose in Life.


Using a 6-point rating scale, participants indicate the extent to which they agree with each of several self-referent statements describing aspects of their lives relevant to each of the four measures of psychological well-being.  The entire instrument (i.e., all 4 scales) was administered in PCS2 and PCS3.  However, in PCS2 only, the first half and second halves of the instrument were presented separately, on Quarantine Days 0 and 1, respectively (see PCS2 Trial Outline).  In PMBC, participants completed items from the Positive Relationships scale only.


 1 = Strongly Disagree, 2 = Moderately Disagree, 3 = Slightly Disagree, 4 = Slightly Agree, 5 = Moderately Agree, 6 = Strongly Agree

Number of Items

PCS2, PCS3: 36 items (9 * 4 Scales)

PMBC: 9 (Positive Relationships Subscale)

Sample Items

  • Most people see me as loving and affectionate. (Positive Relationships)
  • When I look at the story of my life, I am pleased with how things have turned out. (Self-Acceptance)
  • In general, I feel I am in charge of the situation in which I live. (Environmental Mastery)
  • I live life one day at a time and don’t really think about the future. (Reversed; Purpose in Life)


Internal consistency in combined PCS2, PMBC, and PCS3 samples (n = 732)

  • Positive relationships, Cronbach’s α = 0.76

Internal consistencies, in combined PCS2 and PCS3 samples (n = 544)

  • Environmental mastery, Cronbach’s α = 0.80
  • Purpose in life, Cronbach’s α = 0.78
  • Self-acceptance, Cronbach’s α = 0.81


Reversed Items: pr2, pr3, pr5, pr6, pr8, sa3, sa6, sa7, em2, em3, em5, em8, pl1, pl3, pl4, pl5, pl7, pl9

  • Positive Relationships: Sum Items: pr1, pr2R, pr3R, pr4, pr5R, pr6R, pr7, pr8R, pr9
  • Self-Acceptance: Sum Items: sa1, sa2, sa3R, sa4, sa5, sa6R, sa7R, sa8, sa9
  • Environmental Mastery: Sum Items: em1, em2R, em3R, em4, em5R, em6, em7, em8R, em9
  • Purpose in Life: Sum Items: pl1R, pl2, pl3R, pl4R, pl5R, pl6, pl7R, pl8, pl9R