, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 1-26

Developing measures of perceived life quality: Results from several national surveys

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This report presents the current status of a series of studies oriented toward the assessment of perceived life quality. The conceptual model proposes that a person's overall sense of life quality is understandable as a combination of affective responses to life ‘domains’, which are of two types-role situations and values. Over 100 items used to measure a wide variety of domains and 28 items assessing perceived overall life quality are presented. Various subsets of these items were used in interviews with several representative samples of American adults. Based on these data the domain items were grouped into a smaller number of semi-independent clusters which were internally stable across 10 different subgroups of the respondents and whose interrelationships were highly replicable in independent national samples. A series of analyses, some replicated in more than one survey showed: (1) an additive combination of 12 selected domains explained 50–60% of the variance in an index of overall life quality, (2) neither other domains nor several social characteristic variables contributed additional explanatory power, (3) this level of explanation was achieved in each of 22 subgroups of the population, and (4) additive combinations of domains worked as well as more complicated combinations.

The research reported here has been funded through grant #GS3322 from the National Science Foundation, whose support is gratefully acknowledged. Results contained herein were presented to the 1973 Annual Convention of the American Sociological Association and to the 1973 Conference of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association. We thank Kenneth Land for his comments on an earlier version of this report. Rick Crandall, Marita Di Lorenzi, William Murphy, and Elizabeth Taylor have assisted in the design and conduct of this project.