Who is Afraid of Happiness? – The Portuguese Version of the Fear of Happiness Scale

Daniela Pacheco, Carla Crespo, Mariana Fernandes, Pedro M. Teixeira, Isabel Narciso


The present study aimed at testing the Portuguese version of the Fear of Happiness Scale. This concept is defined as the fear with the underlying belief that happiness has negative consequences.
The participants were 323 university students between 18 and 54 years old, whose data were collected in person (n = 118) and online (n = 205).
Results from parallel analysis and exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses showed that the scale was unidimensional and presented good reliability. Fear of happiness had a moderate negative correlation with life satisfaction, positive affect and hope, and a moderate positive correlation with negative affect. Additionally, via a hierarchical linear regression, we found that the fear of happiness, after controlling for sociodemographic and psychosocial variables, was negatively associated with life satisfaction.
The Portuguese version of the Fear of Happiness Scale showed good psychometric properties in this study. The availability of this scale in the Portuguese context will allow to develop meaningful research addressing the experience of happiness, namely how it can be experienced negatively and, sometimes, avoided.


fear of happiness; Portuguese version; psychometric properties; satisfaction with life