Advertisement

Social Indicators Research

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 1–20 | Cite as

The affective and cognitive context of self-reported measures of subjective well-being

  • William Pavot
  • Ed Diener
Article

Abstract

Researchers attempting to understand the experience of subjective well-being have relied heavily on self-report measurement. Recent research focused on this method has demonstrated that a number of factors, such as the current mood of the respondent and the cognitive and social context surrounding the response, can significantly influence response to items inquiring about global subjective well-being or satisfaction with life. In the present study, several measurement strategies (e.g., single-item measures, multiple-item scales, and memory search tasks) were compared with regard to their susceptibility to such influences. Although some evidence for effects due to item-placement or transient mood were found, all of the global measures of subjective well-being and life satisfaction has significant convergence with peer-reports, and the single-item measures showed good temporal reliability across a one-month interval. The data provide evidence for a significant degree of stability in subjective well-being and life satisfaction.

Keywords

Life Satisfaction Social Context Search Task Significant Degree Global Measure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Allen, M. and Yen, W.: 1979, Introduction to Measurement Theory (Brooks/Cole, Monterey, CA).Google Scholar
  2. Andrews, F. M. and Withey, S. B.: 1976, Social Indicators of Well-Being: America's Perception of Life Quality (Plenum, New York).Google Scholar
  3. Bargh, J. A.: 1989, ‘Conditional automaticity: Varieties of automatic influence in social perception and cognition’, in J. S. Uleman and J. A. Bargh (eds), Unintended Thought (The Guilford Press, New York).Google Scholar
  4. Bargh, J. A. and Thein, R. D.: 1985, ‘Individual construct accessibility, person memory, and the recall-judgment link: The case of information overload’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 49, 1129–1146.Google Scholar
  5. Chaiken, S.: 1980, ‘Heuristic versus systematic information processing and the use of source versus message cues in persuasion’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 39, 752–766.Google Scholar
  6. Clark, M. S. and Isen, A. M.: 1982, ‘Toward understanding the relationship between feeling states and social behavior’, in A. H. Hastorf and A. M. Isen (eds), Cognitive Social Psychology (Elsevier, New York), pp. 73–108.Google Scholar
  7. Costa, P. T. and McCrae, R. R.: 1980, ‘Influence of extraversion and neuroticism on subjective well-being: Happy and unhappy people’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 38, 668–678.Google Scholar
  8. Cronbach, L. J.: 1960, Essentials of Psychological Testing (Harper & Brothers, New York) 2nd ed.Google Scholar
  9. Diener, E.: 1984, ‘Subjective well-being’, Psychological Bulletin 95, 542–575.Google Scholar
  10. Diener, E.: 1990, Challenges in measuring subjective well-being and ill-being, manuscript submitted for publication, University of Illinois.Google Scholar
  11. Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., and Griffin, S.: 1985, ‘The satisfaction with life scale’, Journal of Personality Assessment 49, 71–75.Google Scholar
  12. Diener, E., Sandvik, E., Pavot, W., and Gallagher, D.: 1991, ‘Response artifacts in the measurement of well-being’, Social Indicators Research 24, 35–56.Google Scholar
  13. Emmons, R. A. and Diener, E.: 1985, ‘Personality correlates of subjective well-being’, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 11, 89–97.Google Scholar
  14. Eysenck, H. J. and Eysenck, S. B. G.: 1964, Manual of the Eysenck Personality Inventory (Educational and Industrial Testing Service, San Diego, CA).Google Scholar
  15. Fordyce, M. W.: 1977, The Happiness Measures: A sixty-second index of emotional well-being and mental health, unpublished manuscript, Edison Community College, Ft. Myers, Florida.Google Scholar
  16. Glass, G. and Hopkins, K.: 1984, Statistical Methods in Education and Psychology (Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ).Google Scholar
  17. Heady, B. and Wearing, A.: 1989, ‘Personality, life events, and subjective well-being: toward a dynamic equilibrium model’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 57, 731–739.Google Scholar
  18. Kammann, R. and Flett, R.: 1983, ‘Affectometer 2: A scale to measure current level of general happiness’, Australian Journal of Psychology 35, 257–265.Google Scholar
  19. Pavot, W., Diener, E., Colvin, C. R., and Sandvik, E.: 1991, ‘Further validation of the satisfaction with life scale: evidence for the cross-method convergence of well-being measures’, Journal of Personality Assessment 57, 2–13.Google Scholar
  20. Pavot, W., Diener, E., and Fujita, F.: 1990, ‘Extraversion and happiness’, Personality and Individual Differences 11, 1299–1306.Google Scholar
  21. Schwarz, N. and Clore, G. L.: 1983, ‘Mood, misattribution, and judgments of well-being: informative and directive functions of affective states’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 45, 513–523.Google Scholar
  22. Schwarz, N. and Strack, F.: 1991, ‘Evaluating one's life: A judgment model of subjective well-being’, in F. Strack, M. Argyle, and N. Schwarz (eds), Subjective Well-Being: An Interdisciplinary Approach (Pergamon, Oxford).Google Scholar
  23. Strack, F., Martin, L. L., and Schwarz, N.: 1988, ‘Priming and communications: Social determinants of information use in judgments of life satisfaction’, European Journal of Social Psychology 18, 429–442.Google Scholar
  24. Wessman, A. E. and Ricks, D. F.: 1966, Mood and Personality (Holt, New York).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Pavot
    • 1
  • Ed Diener
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology Dept.University of IllinoisChampaignUSA

Personalised recommendations