Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 1333–1345 | Cite as

Measuring Adolescent Life Satisfaction: A Psychometric Investigation of the Multidimensional Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale (MSLSS)

  • Kelly D. BradleyEmail author
  • Jessica D. Cunningham
  • Richard Gilman
Research Paper


Concerns regarding construct bias in psychological assessment have been the subject of ongoing research for a half century. Little research has investigated the psychometric comparability of instruments designed to assess positive perceptions of individuals’ lives. The Multidimensional StudentsLife Satisfaction Scale (MSLSS), is based on a hierarchical factor structure that conceptualizes life satisfaction as an overall satisfaction that is subsumed by five domains believed to be important in youths’ lives: Family, Friends, School, Living Environment, and Self (Huebner in School Psychol Q 19:93–105, 1994). A Rasch measurement model was applied, rather than the typical approach of classical test theory such as factor analysis, to each domain to investigate measurement properties and determine equivalence across race at the item level. Results support a restructure of the rating scale categories due to the limited use of certain ratings and suggest revision of items that demonstrate differential item functioning across race. This study will aid in correct applications and proper interpretation of the scores reported for the MSLSS, as well as offering a methodological framework to apply to comparable psychological assessments.


Adolescent life satisfaction Rasch model Rating scale 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelly D. Bradley
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jessica D. Cunningham
    • 2
  • Richard Gilman
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Educational Policy Studies and EvaluationUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Georgetown CollegeGeorgetownUSA
  3. 3.Division of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryCincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA

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