Journal of Well-Being Assessment
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This research investigates the much-debated factor structure of the 54-item version of Ryff’s (1989) Scales of Psychological Well-being (SPWB). Using two samples (n1 = 573; n2 = 449) of undergraduate university students, we apply confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) along with recently developed exploratory structural equation modeling (ESEM) techniques to evaluate several unidimensional and multidimensional models identified in previous research, as well as a new bifactor model. In a bifactor model, items load directly on both a global and a specific factor; when tested using ESEM, cross-loadings on other specific factors are also permitted and are targeted to be as close to zero as possible. After comparing various ESEM and traditional CFA models, the results indicate that a bifactor model estimated using ESEM provided the best fit to the data. Most items were found to reflect the global factor, but some items failed to reflect the intended specific factor. Thus, the 54-item version of the SPWB appears to be a good measure of overall psychological well-being, but may need refinement as a measure of the intended specific factors, at least among young adults. The benefits of applying ESEM to investigate the factor structure of the SPWB in other populations are discussed.