Social Indicators Research

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 179-200

First online:

On the trail of the gold standard for subjective well-being

  • Robert A. CumminsAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, Deakin University

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The absence of a ‘gold standard’ for subjective well-being has severely hampered the interpretation of data from empirical studies. This paper demonstrates a remarkable consistency among the results of 16 studies that have investigated ‘life satisfaction’ among large samples drawn from the general population. It is concluded that a population standard for ‘life satisfaction’ can be expressed as 75.0±2.5 percent of the measurement scale maximum score.