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The Subjective Well-being Construct: A Test of its Convergent, Discriminant, and Factorial Validity


Using structural equation modeling, we found empirical support for the prevailing theory that subjective well-being consists of three domains: (1) cognitive evaluations of one’s life (i.e., life satisfaction or happiness); (2) positive affect; and (3) negative affect. Multiple indicators of satisfaction/happiness were shown to have strong convergent validity as well as discriminant validity from positive and negative affect. Positive and negative affect likewise exhibited discriminant validity from one another. At both the item and scale levels of analysis, we obtained an intercorrelated three-factor solution corresponding to the three proposed subjective well-being domains.

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Correspondence to Marne L Arthaud-day.

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Arthaud-day, M.L., Rode, J.C., Mooney, C.H. et al. The Subjective Well-being Construct: A Test of its Convergent, Discriminant, and Factorial Validity. Soc Indic Res 74, 445–476 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-004-8209-6

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Key words

  • construct validation
  • factor structure
  • subjective well-being