Original Research

An investigation into the factor structure of the Ryff Scales of Psychological Well-Being

Carolina M. Henn, Carin Hill, Lené I. Jorgensen
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 42, No 1 | a1275 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v42i1.1275 | © 2016 Carolina M. Henn, Carin Hill, Lené I. Jorgensen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 April 2015 | Published: 04 November 2016

About the author(s)

Carolina M. Henn, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Carin Hill, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Lené I. Jorgensen, WorkWell, Research Unit for Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: South African studies investigating the factor structure of the Ryff Scales of Psychological Well-being (RPWB) are needed to ensure that the instrument is valid and reliable within the South African context.

Research purpose: The objective of this study was to investigate the factor structure of the RPWB within two South African samples. Motivation for the study: Although a substantial number of studies have been undertaken, results regarding the factor structure of the Ryff Scales of Psychological Well-Being are inconclusive. There is a dearth of information in relation to South African studies examining the scales’ factor structure.

Research design, approach and method: A quantitative research approach using a crosssectional field survey design was utilised. An adult working group (n = 202) was selected using convenience sampling, and a student group (n = 226) was selected by means of purposive non-probability sampling. An Exploratory Factor Analysis and a Confirmatory Factor Analysis were conducted to examine the factor structure.

Main findings: The preferred model was a two-factor model where all the positively worded items were grouped in the first factor and all the negatively worded items were grouped in the second factor.

Practical/managerial implications: The factor structure of the original RPWB was not satisfactorily replicated and remains seemingly unsettled. The utility of negatively worded items should be considered carefully, and alternatives such as mixed response options and phrase completion should be explored. The scales should be used with caution.

Contribution/value-add: The study contributes to the literature concerning the factor structure of the RPWB with an emphasis on the South African context. It contributes to ensuring that researchers and practitioners use a valid and reliable instrument when measuring psychological well-being.


Keywords

psychological well-being, exploratory analysis, factor analysis, adults, students

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