Flourishing, Mental Health, and Physical Health

Strategic outcome

Increase the proportion of student who report good levels of flourishing, mental health, or physical health.


The Flourishing Scale (Diener, et al., 2009 1) is a brief 8-item summary measure of the respondent’s self-perceived success in important areas such as relationships, self-esteem, purpose, and optimism. The scale provides a single psychological well-being score. Existing data available through the Healthy Minds Survey and ACHA-NCHA Survey.


Indicate your agreement with the following statement (scale: strongly disagree=1, disagree=2, slightly disagree=3, neither agree or disagree=4, slightly agree=5, agree=6, strongly agree=7).

  • I lead a purposeful and meaningful life
  • My social relationships are supportive and rewarding
  • I am engaged and interested in my daily activities
  • I actively contribute to the happiness and well-being of others
  • I am competent and capable in the activities that are important to me
  • I am a good person and live a good life
  • I am optimistic about my future
  • People respect me

Scoring: add the responses, varying from 1 to 7, for all eight items. The possible range of scores is 8 (lowest possible) to 56 (highest possible). A high score represents a person with many psychological resources and strengths. A score of 52-56 is considered “flourishing.”

Mental and physical health measures

Given the number of items needed to measure mental and physical health, the Assessment Committee recommend using existing data made available through the Healthy Minds Survey 2 and ACHA-NCHA Survey 3.

  • Healthy Minds Survey measures the following health related items:
    • Prevalence of mental health problems (depression, anxiety, eating disorder, suicidality and self-injurious behavior, lifetime diagnoses of mental disorders, academic impairment)
    • Substance use
    • Exercise
    • Mental health service utilization/help-seeking
  • ACHA-NCHA survey measures the following health related items:
    • Weight, nutrition, and exercise
    • Food security
    • Sleep
    • Safety
    • Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test
    • Sexual health
    • Diener flourishing scale
    • Kessler 6 (K6) – screening for serious mental illness
    • UCLA Three-Item Loneliness Scale
    • The Suicide Behaviors Questionnaire – Revised (SBQ-R)


[1] Diener, E., Wirtz, D., Tov, W., Kim-Prieto, C., Choi, D., Oishi, S., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2010). New measures of well-being: Short scales to assess flourishing and positive and negative feelings. Social Indicators Research, 97, 143-156.

[2] Healthy Minds Survey samples approximately half of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students; Administered every 3 years (Sp 2022, Sp 2019)

[3] ACHA-NCHA Survey samples about 12,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students (students of color were oversampled in Sp 2021); Administered every 3 years (Sp 2021, Sp 2018)