IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Theory and Validity of Life Satisfaction Scales

  • Ed Diener

    ()

  • Ronald Inglehart
  • Louis Tay

    ()

Registered author(s):

    National accounts of subjective well-being are being considered and adopted by nations. In order to be useful for policy deliberations, the measures of life satisfaction must be psychometrically sound. The reliability, validity, and sensitivity to change of life satisfaction measures are reviewed. The scales are stable under unchanging conditions, but are sensitive to changes in circumstances in people’s lives. Several types of data indicate that the scales validly reflect the quality of respondents’ lives: (1) Differences between nations in life satisfaction associated with differences in objective conditions, (2) Differences between groups who live in different circumstances, (3) Correlations with nonself-report measures of life satisfaction, (4) Genetic and physiological associations with life satisfaction, (5) Systematic patterns of change in the scales before, during, and after significant life events, and (6) Prediction by life satisfaction scores of future behaviors such as suicide. The life satisfaction scales can be influenced by factors such as question order, current mood, and mode of presentation, but in most cases these can be controlled. Our model of life satisfaction judgments points to the importance of attention, values, standards, and top-down effects. Although the scales are useful in research on individual well-being, there are policy questions that need more analysis and research, such as which types of subjective well-being measures are most relevant to which types of policies, how standards influence scores, and how best to associate the scores with current policy deliberations. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11205-012-0076-y
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Social Indicators Research.

    Volume (Year): 112 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 3 (July)
    Pages: 497-527

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:112:y:2013:i:3:p:497-527
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/11135

    Order Information: Web: http://link.springer.de/orders.htm

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2007. "Lags and Leads in Life Satisfaction: A Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," CEP Discussion Papers dp0836, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. Ulrich Schimmack & Peter Krause & Gert Wagner & Jürgen Schupp, 2010. "Stability and Change of Well Being: An Experimentally Enhanced Latent State-Trait-Error Analysis," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 19-31, January.
    3. John F. Helliwell, 2004. "Well-Being and Social Capital: Does Suicide Pose a Puzzle?," NBER Working Papers 10896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Rafael Di Tella & John Haisken-De New & Robert MacCulloch, 2007. "Happiness Adaptation to Income and to Status in an Individual Panel," NBER Working Papers 13159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Alex Michalos, 1985. "Multiple discrepancies theory (MDT)," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 347-413, May.
    6. Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert J. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 615, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    7. Leann Schneider & Ulrich Schimmack, 2009. "Self-Informant Agreement in Well-Being Ratings: A Meta-Analysis," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 94(3), pages 363-376, December.
    8. Angus Deaton, 2011. "The Financial Crisis and the Well-Being of America," NBER Chapters, in: Investigations in the Economics of Aging, pages 343-368 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. William Pavot & Ed Diener, 1993. "The affective and cognitive context of self-reported measures of subjective well-being," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 1-20, January.
    10. Leonardo Becchetti & Stefano Castriota & Elena Giachin Ricca, 2010. "Beyond the Joneses: inter-country income comparisons and happiness," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 82/2010, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia.
    11. Alan B. Krueger & David A. Schkade, 2007. "The Reliability of Subjective Well-Being Measures," Working Papers 64, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
    12. Ed Diener & Christie Napa-Scollon & Shigehiro Oishi & Vivian Dzokoto & Eunkook Suh, 2000. "Positivity and the Construction of Life Satisfaction Judgments: Global Happiness is not the Sum of its Parts," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 159-176, June.
    13. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
    14. Robert Biswas-Diener & Ed Diener, 2006. "The Subjective Well-Being of the Homeless, and Lessons for Happiness," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 76(2), pages 185-205, 04.
    15. Ed Diener & Jeff Horwitz & Robert Emmons, 1985. "Happiness of the very wealthy," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 263-274, April.
    16. Oswald, Andrew J. & Wu, Stephen, 2010. "Objective Confirmation of Subjective Measures of Human Well-being: Evidence from the USA," IZA Discussion Papers 4695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Michael Hagerty & Ruut Veenhoven, 2003. "Wealth and Happiness Revisited – Growing National Income Does Go with Greater Happiness," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 64(1), pages 1-27, October.
    18. Tom Atkinson, 1982. "The stability and validity of quality of life measures," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 113-132, February.
    19. Alex Michalos & P. Maurine Kahlke, 2010. "Stability and Sensitivity in Perceived Quality of Life Measures: Some Panel Results," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 98(3), pages 403-434, September.
    20. Christie Scollon & Chu Kim-Prieto & Ed Diener, 2003. "Experience Sampling: Promises and Pitfalls, Strengths and Weaknesses," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 5-34, March.
    21. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," CESifo Working Paper Series 246, CESifo Group Munich.
    22. Michael Eid & Ed Diener, 2004. "Global Judgments of Subjective Well-Being: Situational Variability and Long-Term Stability," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 65(3), pages 245-277, February.
    23. Joar Vittersø & Robert Biswas-Diener & Ed Diener, 2005. "The Divergent Meanings of Life Satisfaction: Item Response Modeling of the Satisfaction with Life Scale in Greenland and Norway," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 74(2), pages 327-348, November.
    24. Richard Lucas & Andrew Clark, 2006. "Do People Really Adapt To Marriage?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 405-426, November.
    25. Simon Luechinger, 2009. "Valuing Air Quality Using the Life Satisfaction Approach," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 482-515, 03.
    26. Ruut Veenhoven, 2005. "Apparent Quality-of-Life in Nations: How Long and Happy People Live," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 71(1), pages 61-86, 03.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:112:y:2013:i:3:p:497-527. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn)

    or (Christopher F Baum)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.