Social Indicators Research

, Volume 70, Issue 3, pp 287–311 | Cite as

Subjective Well-Being and Life Satisfaction in the Kingdom of Tonga

  • Sean E. Moore
  • Heather Young Leslie
  • Carrie A. Lavis


This paper describes an initial attempt to assess the subjective well being of a sample of 227 Tongans via self-report. Using items adapted from the Subjective Well Being Inventory (SUBI; Nagpal and Sell, 1985; Sell and Nagpal, 1992), participants rated their level of overall life satisfaction along with their perceptions of well-beingin a number of other more specific life domains. Results indicated that mean ratings of global life satisfaction were generally positive. A factor analysis of the remaining domain-specific well-being items indicated that items loaded on to one of two factors dealing with overall positive or negative evaluations of these life areas. Importantly, these scale items stressed the importance of social and kin relations in contributing to overall well-being. In terms of demographic variables, mature respondents reported greater levels of overall life satisfaction and well-being as compared to youthful respondents. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.


Life Satisfaction Demographic Variable Great Level Scale Item Negative Evaluation 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Biswas-Diener, R., Diener, E. 2001Making the best of a bad situation: Satisfaction in the slums of CalcuttaSocial Indicators Research55329352Google Scholar
  2. Central Intelligence Agency. (2003). CIA World Factbook 2003. Retrieved October 31, 2003 from Scholar
  3. Diener, E. 1984Subjective well-beingPsychological Bulletin95542575Google Scholar
  4. Diener, E., Diener, M. 1995Cross-cultural correlates of life satisfaction and self-esteemJournal of Personality and Social Psychology68653663Google Scholar
  5. Diener, E., Emmons, R.A. 1984The independence of positive and negative affectJournal of Personality and Social Psychology4711051117Google Scholar
  6. Diener, E., Suh, E. 1997Measuring quality of life: Economic, social and subjective indicatorsSocial Indicators Research40189216Google Scholar
  7. Diener, E., Suh, E. 1999National differences in subjective well-beingKahneman, D.Diener, E.Schwarz, N. eds. Well-being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology.Russell Sage FoundationNew York434450Google Scholar
  8. Diener, E., Suh, E.M. 2000Culture and Subjective Well-beingMIT PressCambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  9. Diener, E., Emmons, R.A., Larsen, R.J., Griffin, S. 1985The satisfaction with life scaleJournal of Personality Assessment497175Google Scholar
  10. Diener, E., Diener, M., Diener, C. 1995Factors predicting the subjective well-being of nationsJournal of Personality and Social Psychology69851864Google Scholar
  11. Diener, E., Suh, E., Smith, H., Shao, L. 1995National differences in reported subjective well-being: Why do theyoccur?Social Indicators Research34732Google Scholar
  12. Diener, E., Suh, E., Lucas, R., Smith, H. 1999Subjective well-being: Three decades of progressPsychological Bulletin125276302Google Scholar
  13. Diener, E., Gohm, C.L., Suh, E., Oishi, S. 2000Similarity of the relations between marital status and subjective well-being across culturesJournal of Cross Cultural Psychology31419436Google Scholar
  14. Emmons, R.A.. 1986Personal strivings: An approach to personality and subjective well-beingJournal of Personality and Social Psychology5110581068Google Scholar
  15. Fabrigar, L.R., Wegener, D.T., MacCallum, R.C., Strahan, E.J. 1999Evaluatingthe use ofexploratory factor analysis in psychological researchPsychological Methods4272299Google Scholar
  16. Goldman, I.. 1955Status rivalry and cultural evolution in PolynesiaAmerican Anthropologist.57680697Google Scholar
  17. Hofstede, G.H. 1980Culture’s Consequences: International DifferencesinWork Related ValuesSage, Beverly Hills, CAGoogle Scholar
  18. Inglehart, R.,  et al. 1999World Values Surveys and European Values Surveys, 1981–1984, 1990–1993, 1995–1997. ICPSR version (Data file).Institute for Social ResearchAnn Arbor, MI.Google Scholar
  19. Kahneman, D., Diener, E., Schwarz, N. 1999Well-being: The Foundations of Hedonic PsychologyRussell Sage FoundationNew York.Google Scholar
  20. Mallard, A.G.C., Lance, C.E., Michalos, A.C. 1997Culture as a moderator of overall life satisfaction – Life facet satisfaction relationshipsSocial Indicators Research40259284Google Scholar
  21. Marcus, G. 1978Status rivalry in a Polynesian steady-state societyEthos6242269Google Scholar
  22. Markus, H., Kitayama, S. 1991Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivationPsychological Review98224253Google Scholar
  23. Michalos, A.C. 1985Multiple discrepancies theory (MDT)Social Indicators Research16347313Google Scholar
  24. Nagpal, R., Sell, H. 1985Subjective Well-BeingWorldHealth Organization Regional Office for South East AsiaNew Delhi, India.Google Scholar
  25. Oishi, S., Diener, E., Lucas, R.E., Suh, E.M. 1999Cross-cultural variations in predictors of life satisfaction: Perspectives from needs andvaluesPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin25980990Google Scholar
  26. Pavot, W., Diener, E. 1993Review of the Satisfaction with Life ScalePsychological Assessment5164172Google Scholar
  27. Russell, D.W. 2002In search of underlying dimensions:The use (and abuse)of factor analysis in Personality and Social Psychology BulletinPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin2816291646Google Scholar
  28. Sell, H., Nagpal, R. 1992Assessment of Subjective Well-being: The Subjective Well-BeingInventory (SUBI) WorldHealthOrganizationRegional Office for South-East AsiaNew Delhi, India.Google Scholar
  29. Suh, E., Diener, E., Oishi, S., Triandis, H.C. 1998The shifting basis of life satisfactionjudgments across cultures: Emotions versus normsJournal of Personality and Social Psychology74482493Google Scholar
  30. Triandis, H.C. 1995Individualism and CollectivismWestview PressBoulder, CO.Google Scholar
  31. United States Census Bureau. (2002). International Data Base (IDB): Summary DemographicData’.Retrieved May 3, 2003, from ipc/www/idbsum.htmlGoogle Scholar
  32. Veenhoven, R.. 1993Happiness in NationsRisboRotterdam, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  33. Wilson, W. 1967Correlates ofavowed happinessPsychological Bulletin67294306Google Scholar
  34. Young Leslie, H. 1999Inventing health: Tradition, textiles and maternal obligation in the Kingdom of Tonga. Unpublished doctoral dissertationYork UniversityTorontoGoogle Scholar
  35. Young Leslie, H. 2002Producing what in the transition? Health messaging and cultural constructions of health in TongaPacific Health Dialog9210220Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sean E. Moore
    • 1
  • Heather Young Leslie
    • 2
  • Carrie A. Lavis
    • 3
  1. 1.Gallup Research CenterUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Hawai’i at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  3. 3.Niagara CollegeWellandCanada

Personalised recommendations