Measuring psychological well-being: insights from Thai elders

Gerontologist. 2004 Oct;44(5):596-604. doi: 10.1093/geront/44.5.596.


Purpose: Psychological well-being, an important indicator of successful aging, may be conceptualized quite differently across cultures. Using a mixed-methods approach, we developed a measure of psychological well-being based on the indigenous expertise of Thai elders.

Design and methods: Data were collected from older people in Thailand in four stages with staggered qualitative and quantitative methods: individual and focus group interviews (n = 67); a preliminary survey (n = 477); cognitive interviews (n = 30); and a second survey (n = 460). We analyzed the resulting psychological well-being items to identify their underlying factor structure and psychometric properties.

Results: Confirmatory factor analysis suggested that psychological well-being has two components: intrapersonal and interpersonal. The subscales for this measure have adequate reliability and validity.

Implications: This research provides evidence for cultural variability in the nature of psychological well-being and highlights the importance of developing measures that are culturally relevant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged / psychology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Psychometrics
  • Thailand