What are the dimensions of well-being? That is, what universal goals need to be realized by individuals in order to enhance their well-being? Social production function (SPF) theory asserts that the universal goals affection, behavioural confirmation, status, comfort and stimulation are the relevant dimensions of subjective well-being. Realization of these substantive goals and the perspective on opportunities to realize these goals in the future contributes to the affective and cognitive component of well-being. To measure levels of affection, behavioural confirmation, status, comfort and stimulation and empirically validate the dimensions of well- being, the SPF-IL scale was developed. The SPF-IL is a multidimensional instrument to measure the first-order goals that enable people to realize well-being. The frame of reference in the questionnaire is 3 months.

Answers are given on a four-point scale ranging from never (1) to always (4), with higher mean scores indicating greater well-being. Cronbach’s alpha values of the SPF-IL in many populations have proven good reliability. Furthermore, confirmatory factor analysis supported the dimensional structure of well-being indicating construct validity. The overall fit of the model was sufficient, in spite of the somewhat problematic measurement of status, and the test–retest study showed an acceptable level of stability. As for the content validity of the dimensions and their measurement, various sub-studies showed that the SPF-IL scale is a valid instrument, doing at least as well as popular measures of overall well-being but also specifying its dimensions.

English version:

Questions of the SPF-IL to assess well-being

I will ask you a number of questions about how you feel. These questions refer to the past 3 months. For your answer, will you please choose between NEVER, SOMETIMES, OFTEN or ALWAYS? If you HARDLY EVER have that feeling you can answer NEVER. If you ALMOST ALWAYS feel that way, answer ALWAYS. Use whichever answer is CLOSEST to the way you feel, NEVER, SOMETIMES, OFTEN or ALWAYS.

  • Affection

spf_1. Do people pay attention to you?
spf_2. Do people help you if you have a problem?
spf_3. Do you feel that people really love you?

  • Behavioral confirmation

spf_4. There are situations in which we deal with groups of people, for example at home, at work or during our leisure time. Do others appreciate your role in the group?
spf_5. Do people find you reliable?
spf_6. Do you feel useful to others?

  • Status

spf_7. Do people think you do better than others?
spf_8. Do people find you an influential person?
spf_9. Are you known for the things you have accomplished?

  • Comfort

In the past few months have you felt: spf_10. . . . relaxed?
spf_11. . . . perfectly healthy?
spf_12. . . . physically comfortable?

  • Stimulation

spf_13. Are your activities challenging to you?
spf_14. Do you really enjoy your activities?
spf_15. How often are you fully concentrated when doing something?

Dutch version:

Nu volgen vragen over hoe u zich voelt. Het gaat steeds over de afgelopen 3 maanden. Wilt u als antwoord kiezen tussen nooit, soms, vaak, altijd? Als u dat gevoel bijna nooit heeft, kunt u gewoon nooit omcirkelen. Als u dat gevoel bijna altijd heeft, zegt u altijd. Het gaat erom waar het antwoord het dichtste bij zit. Bij: nooit, soms, vaak of altijd.

  • Affectie

spf_1. Hebben mensen aandacht voor u?
spf_2. Wil men u helpen als u een probleem heeft?
spf_3. Voelt u dat mensen echt van u houden?

  • Gedragsbevestiging

spf_4. Er zijn situaties waarin men te maken heeft met groepen mensen, zoals bij familie, een vereniging of de kerk. Waarderen anderen uw rol in de groep?
spf_5. Vinden mensen u betrouwbaar?
spf_6. Voelt u zich nuttig voor anderen?

  • Status

spf_7. Vindt men dat u beter presteert dan anderen?
spf_8. Ziet men u als iemand met invloed?
spf_9. Staat u bekend om dingen die u heeft gepresteerd?

  • Comfort

Voelde u zich de afgelopen paar maanden: spf_10. . . . ontspannen?
spf_11. . . . goed gezond?
spf_12. . . . lichamelijk prettig?

  • Stimulatie

spf_13. Zijn uw bezigheden een uitdaging voor u?  
spf_14. Heeft u veel plezier in uw bezigheden?
spf_15. Hoe vaak bent u volledig geconcentreerd met iets bezig?


  • COMPUTE spf_IL = mean.10 (spf_1, spf_2, spf_3, spf_4, spf_5, spf_6, spf_7, spf_8, spf_9, spf_10, spf_11, spf_12, spf_13, spf_14 spf_15).
  • COMPUTE spf_Affection = mean.2 (spf_1, spf_2, spf_3).
  • COMPUTE spf_Behavior = mean.2 (spf_4, spf_5, spf_6).
  • COMPUTE spf_Status = mean.2 (spf_7, spf_8, spf_9).
  • COMPUTE spf_Comfort = mean.2 (spf_10, spf_11, spf_12).
  • COMPUTE spf_Stimulation = mean.2 (spf_13, spf_14 spf_15).


Cramm, J.M., Nieboer, A.P. (2015). Social cohesion, belonging and changes therein predict the well-being of community-dwelling older people in the Netherlands over time. BMC Geriatrics. 15:30. doi:10.1186/s12877-015-0027-y.

Cramm, J.M. & Nieboer, A.P. (2015). The importance of productive patient-professional interaction for the well-being of chronically ill patients. Quality of Life Research, 24 (4), 897-903. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11136-014-0813-6.

Cramm, J.M., Shahab Jolani, Stef van Buuren, Nieboer, A.P. (2015). Better experiences with quality of care predict well-being of patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in the Netherlands. International Journal of Integrated Care. Apr–Jun; URN:NBN:NL:UI:10-1-114833.

Cramm, J.M., Nieboer, A.P. (2015). Disease Management: The Need for a Focus on Broader Self-Management Abilities and Quality of Life. Population Health Management. doi:10.1089/pop.2014.0120.

Cramm, J.M. & Nieboer, A.P. (2015). Building social capital over one’s lifetime may protect loss of well-being among older people. Contribution to a Springer book: Social capital as a health resource in later life: the relevance of context (Part of the Springer book series International Perspectives on Aging). 

Cramm, J.M. & Nieboer, A.P. (2014). The effects of social and physical functioning and self-management abilities on well-being among patients with cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes. Applied research in quality of life, 9 (1), 113. doi: 10.1007/s11482-013-9216-z.

Cramm, J.M., Lorenzo, T. & Nieboer, A.P. (2014). Comparing Education, Employment, Social Support and Well-being among Youth with Disabilities and Their Peers in South Africa. Applied research in quality of life, 9 (3), 517. doi: 10.1007/s11482-013-9247-5.

Cramm, J.M. & Nieboer, A.P. (2013). The relationship between self-management abilities, quality of chronic care delivery, and wellbeing among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in The Netherlands. International Journal of COPD, 8, 209-214. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S42667.

Cramm, J.M., Dijk, H.M. van & Nieboer, A.P. (2013). Het belang van sociale cohesie en sociaal kapitaal in de buurt voor het welzijn van ouderen. Tijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie, 44 (2), 50-58. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12439-013-0010-z.

Cramm, J.M., Nieboer, A.P. (2013). Neighborhood attributes security and solidarity promote the well-being of community-dwelling older people. Geriatrics and Gerontology International. doi: 10.1111/ggi.12133. 

Cramm, J.M., Dijk, H.M. van & Nieboer, A.P. (2013). The Importance of Neighborhood Social Cohesion and Social Capital for the Well-Being of Older Adults in the Community. The Gerontologist, 50 (1), 1-9. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geront/gns052.

Cramm, J.M., Hartgerink, J.M., Steyerberg, E.W., Bakker, T.J., Mackenbach, J.P. & Nieboer, A.P. (2013). Understanding older patients' self-management abilities: functional loss, self-management, and well-being. Quality of Life Research, 22, 85-92. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11136-012-0131-9.

Cramm, J.M., Strating, M.M.H., Vreede, P.L. de, Steverink, N. & Nieboer, A.P. (2012). Validation of the self-management ability scale (SMAS) and development and validation of a shorter scale (SMAS-S) among older patients shortly after hospitalisation. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 10 (9), 1-7. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1477-7525-10-9.

Cramm, J.M., Hartgerink, J.M., Vreede, P.L. de, Bakker, T.J., Steyerberg, E.W., Mackenbach, J.P. & Nieboer, A.P. (2012). The relationship between older adults' self-management abilities, well-being and depression. European Journal of Ageing, 9, 353-360. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10433-012-0237-5.

Cramm, J.M. & Nieboer, A.P. (2012). The role of self-management abilities on physical health and depressive symptoms among patients with cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes. In EUPHA Vol. 22. European Journal of Public Health (pp. 266-267).

Cramm, J.M., Dijk, H.M. van, Lotters, F.J.B., Exel, N.J.A. van & Nieboer, A.P. (2011). Evaluating an integrated neighbourhood approach to improve well-being of frail elderly in a Dutch Community: A study protocol. BMC Research Notes, 4 (1), 532. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1756-0500-4-532.

Nieboer, A.P., Lindenberg, S, Boomsma, A. & Bruggen, A.C. van (2005). Dimensions of well-being and their measurement: the SPF-IL scale.Social Indicators Research, 73, 313-353. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11205-004-0988-2.

Nieboer, A.P. & Lindenberg, S (2002). Substitution, buffers and subjective well-being: A hierarchical approach. In The Universality of Subjective Well-Being Indicators (pp. 175). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.