Advertisement

Social Indicators Research

, Volume 83, Issue 2, pp 201–244 | Cite as

Development of the Contentment with Life Assessment Scale (CLAS): Using Daily Life Experiences to Verify Levels of Self-Reported Life Satisfaction

  • Loraine F. LavalleeEmail author
  • P. Maurine Hatch
  • Alex C. Michalos
  • Tara McKinley
Article

Abstract

On average, Anglo-Americans report that they are satisfied with their lives, but their global evaluations tend to deviate from their daily experiences (e.g., Oishi [2002, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 28(10), 1398–1406]). We explored the hypothesis that the average life satisfaction of Anglo-Americans is better characterized as neutral than satisfied. In Study 1 we developed the five-item Contentment with Life Assessment Scale (CLAS), which focuses on contentment, fulfillment and self-discrepancies. Normative data based on three general population samples demonstrated that the CLAS produces a close to normal distribution of scores, has excellent reliability, and is sensitive to differences in life conditions (e.g., income, marital status). In two daily diary studies we tested whether global life satisfaction measures corresponded to people’s daily subjective well-being. The CLAS was the best predictor among three self-report life satisfaction measures of daily escapist behaviors including television watching and alcohol consumption, and daily stress-related physical symptoms (Study 2). In Study 3, participants recorded their level of life satisfaction daily for two weeks. Average daily life satisfaction scores clustered close to the neutral rather than satisfied point of the measurement scale.

Keywords

life satisfaction life satisfaction measurement subjective well-being contentment daily diary methodology 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research is based, in part, on the second author’s master’s thesis and was supported by a UNBC seed grant to the first author and a UNBC graduate student scholarship to the second author. We are grateful to Dr. Jacqueline Vorauer of the University of Manitoba for including a preliminary version of the CLAS in the University of Manitoba’s mass testing. We also wish to thank Shirley Fortin and Alexandra Ilioupolus for their assistance with data entry and three anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments.

References

  1. Andrews F.M., 1984, Construct validity and error components of survey measures: a structural modeling approach Public Opinion Quarterly 48: 409–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andrews F.M., McKennell A.C., 1980, Measures of self-reported well-being: Their affective, cognitive and other components Social Indicators Research 8(2): 127–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andrews F.M., Robinson J.P., 1991, Measures of subjective well-being In Robinson J. P., Shaver P. R., Wrightsman L. S., (Eds.), Measures of Personality and Social Psychological Attitudes Academic Press San Diego (pp. 17–59)Google Scholar
  4. Andrews F.M., Withey S.B., 1974, Measures of perceived life quality: results from several national surveys Social Indicators Research 1(1): 1–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Andrews F.M., Withey S.B., 1976, Social Indicators of Well-being: Americans’ Perceptions of Life Quality Plenum Press New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Argyle M., 1999, Causes and correlates of happiness In Kahneman D., Diener E., Schwarz N., (Eds.), Well-being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology Russell Sage Foundation New York (pp. 353–373)Google Scholar
  7. Arrindell W.A., Meeuwesen L., Huyse F.J., 1991, The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS): psychometric properties in a non-psychiatric medical outpatients sample Personality and Individual Differences 12: 117–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Baumeister R.F., Campbell J.D., Krueger J.I., Vohs K.D., 2003, Does high self-esteem cause better performance, interpersonal success, happiness, or healthier lifestyles? Psychological Science in the Public Interest 4(1): 1–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Baumeister R., Smart L., Boden J., 1996, Relation of threatened egotism to violence and aggression: The dark side of high self esteem Psychological Review 103(1): 5–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Beck A.T., 1967, Depression: Clinical, Experimental, and Theoretical Aspects Harper & Row New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Beck A.T., Steer R.A., Garbin M.G., 1988, Psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory: Twenty-five years of evaluation Clinical Psychology Review 8(1): 77–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Blaine B., Crocker J., 1993, Self-esteem and self-serving biases in reactions to positive and negative events: An integrative review In Baumeister R., (Ed.), Self-esteem: The Puzzle of Low Self-regard Plenum Press New York (pp. 55–85)Google Scholar
  13. Bosson J.K., Swann Jr. W.B., Pennebaker J., 2000, Stalking the perfect measure of implicit self-esteem: The blind men and the elephant revisited? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 79(4): 631–643CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Campbell D.T., Fiske D.W., 1959, Convergent and discriminant validation by the multitrait-multimethod matrix Psychological Bulletin 56: 81–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 2004, Measuring healthy days. Retrieved Dec.␣28,␣2005 from http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/HRQOL/Index.asp?State = 1&Category = 1& Measure = 1Google Scholar
  16. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention2005, Health-related Quality of Life Surveillance. United States, 1993–2002 (MMWR 2005:54 No. SS−4). Department of Health and Human Services Atlanta, GAGoogle Scholar
  17. Cohen S., Williamson G.M., 1988, Perceived stress in a probability sample of the United States In Spacapan S., Oskamp S., (Eds.), The Social Psychology of Health Sage Publications Newbury Park (pp. 31–67)Google Scholar
  18. Crawford Solberg E., Diener E., Wirtz D., Lucas R., Oishi S., 2002, Wanting, having, and satisfaction: Examining the role of desire discrepancies in satisfaction with income Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 83(3): 725–735CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Crocker J., Thompson L.L., McGraw K.M., Ingerman C., 1987, Downward comparison, prejudice and evaluations of others: Effects of self-esteem and threat Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 52: 907–916CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cummins R.A., 1995, On the trail of the gold standard for subjective well-being Social Indicators Research 35: 179–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cummins R.A., 1998, The second approximation to an international standard for life satisfaction Social Indicators Research 43: 307–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Cummins R.A., 2003, Normative life satisfaction: Measurement issues and a homeostatic model Social Indicators Research 64: 225–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Cummins R.A., Nistico H., 2002, Maintaining life satisfaction: The role of positive cognitive bias Journal of Happiness Studies 3: 37–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Cummins, R.A., E. Okerstrom, J. Woerner and A. Tomyn: 2005, Australian Unity Wellbeing Index: Report # 13 The Wellbeing of Australians – Caregiving at Home (Australian Centre on Quality of Life, Deakin University) (http://acqol.deakin.edu.au/index_wellbeing/index.htm)Google Scholar
  25. Diener E., 1984, Subjective well-being Psychological Bulletin 95(3): 542–575CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Diener E., 1994, Assessing subjective well-being: progress and opportunities Social Indicators Research 31: 103–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Diener E., Biswas-Diener R., 2002, Will money increase subjective well-being? A literature review and guide to needed research Social Indicators Research 57: 119–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Diener E., Emmons R.A., Larsen R.J., Griffin S., 1985, The satisfaction with life scale Journal of Personality Assessment 49(1): 71–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Diener E., Gohm C.L., Suh E.M., Oishi S., 2000, Similarity of the relations between marital status and subjective well-being across cultures Journal of Cross Cultural Psychology 31(4): 419–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Easterlin R.A., 2001, Income and happiness: Towards a unified theory The Economic Journal 111: 465–484CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Emmons R.A., 1987, Narcissism: Theory and measurement Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 52(1): 11–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Folkman, S., R.S. Lazarus, C. Dunkel-Schetter, A. De Longis and R.J. Gruen: 1986, `Dynamics of a stressful encounter: Cognitive appraisal, coping, and encounter outcomes', Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 50, pp. 992–1003Google Scholar
  33. Green A.S., Eshkol R., Bolger N., Shrout P.R., Reis H.T., 2006, Paper or plastic? Data equivalence in paper and electronic diaries Psychological Methods 11: 87–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Heine S., Lehman D., Markus H.R., Kitayama S., 1999, Is there a universal need for positive self-regard? Psychological Review 106(4): 766–794CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Holmes T.H., Rahe R.H., 1967, The social readjustment rating scale Journal of Psychosomatic Research 11: 213–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Jordan C.H., Spencer S.J., Zanna M.P., Hoshino-Browne E., Correll J., 2003, Secure and defensive high self-esteem Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 85(5): 969–978CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Jordan C.H., Spencer S.J., Zanna M.P., 2005, Types of high self-esteem and prejudice: How implicit self-esteem relates to ethnic discrimination among high explicit self-esteem individuals Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 31: 693–702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kahneman D., 1999, Objective happiness In Kahneman D., Diener E., Schwarz N., (Eds.), Well-being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology Russell Sage New York (pp. 3–25)Google Scholar
  39. Kahneman D., Krueger A.B., Schkade D.A., Schwarz N., Stone A.A., 2004, A survey method for characterizing daily life experience: the day reconstruction method Science 306(5702): 1776–1780CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kernis M.H., Cornell D.P., Sun C., Berry A., Harlow T., 1993, There’s more to self-esteem than whether it is high or low: The importance of stability of self-esteemJournal of Personality and Social Psychology 65: 1190–1204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kernis M.H., Paradise A.W., 2002, Distinguishing between secure and fragile forms of high self-esteem In Deci E. L., Ryan R. M., (Eds.), Handbook of Self-determination Research University of Rochester Press Rochester (pp. 339–360)Google Scholar
  42. Kubey R., Csikszentmihalyi M., 1990, Television and the Quality of Life: How Viewing Shapes Everyday Experiences Lawrence Erlbaum, HillsdaleGoogle Scholar
  43. Lucas R.E., Diener E., Suh E., 1996, Discriminant validity of well-being measures Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 71(3): 616–628CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Maich, S.: 2004, December 6, Hip deep in hoc. Macleans. Retrieved Dec 16, 2005, http://www.macleans.ca/topstories/finance/article.jsp?content = 20041206_94315_94315Google Scholar
  45. Michalos A.C., 1985, Multiple discrepancies theory (MDT) Social Indicators Research 16: 347–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Michalos A.C., 1991a, Global Report on Student Well-Being, Vol. 1: Life Satisfaction and Happiness Springer-Verlag New YorkGoogle Scholar
  47. Michalos A.C., 1991b, Global Report on Student Well-Being: Volume 2, Family, Friends, Living Partner and Self-Esteem Springer-Verlag New YorkGoogle Scholar
  48. Michalos A.C., 1993a, Global Report on Student Well-Being: Volume 3, Employment, Finances, Housing and Transportation Springer-Verlag New YorkGoogle Scholar
  49. Michalos A.C., 1993b, Global Report on Student Well-Being: Volume 4, Religion, Education, Recreation and Health Springer-Verlag New YorkGoogle Scholar
  50. Michalos A.C., 2003, Essays on the Quality of Life Kluwer Academic Publishers DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  51. Michalos A.C., 2004, Social indicators research and health-related quality of life researchSocial Indicators Research 65(1): 27–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Michalos, A.C. (ed.): 2005, Citation Classics from Social Indicators Research: The Most Cited Articles (Springer, Dordrecht)Google Scholar
  53. Michalos A.C., Hubley A.M., Zumbo B.D., Hemingway D., 2001, Health and other aspects of the quality of life of older people Social Indicators Research 54: 239–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Morgan M., 1984, Heavy television viewing and perceived quality of life Journalism Quarterly 61: 499–504Google Scholar
  55. Moskalenko S., Heine S.J., 2003, Watching your troubles away: Television viewing as a stimulus for subjective self-awareness Personality and Social Psychological Bulletin 29: 76–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Myers D.G., 2000 The funds, friends, and faith of happy people American Psychologist 55(1): 56–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: 2005, Publication No. 99-101. Retrieved Dec. 28, 2005 from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/stresswk.htmlGoogle Scholar
  58. Oishi S., 2002, The experiencing and remembering of well-being: A cross-cultural analysis Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 28(10): 1398–1406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Paulhus, D.L.: 1988, ‘Assessing self-deception and impression management in self- reports: The Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding’. Unpublished Manual (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)Google Scholar
  60. Paulhus D.L., 1991, Measurement and control of response bias In Robinson J.P., Shaver P.R., Wrightsman L.S., (Eds.), Measures of Personality and Social Psychological Attitudes Academic Press San Diego (pp. 17–59)Google Scholar
  61. Paulhus, D.L.: 1998a, ‘Intrapsychic and interpersonal adaptiveness of trait self-enhancement: A mixed blessing?', Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 74, pp. 812–820Google Scholar
  62. Paulhus, D.L.: 1998b, ‘Manual for the Balanced Inventory of Desirable Resonding (BIDR-7). Toronto, Buffalo: Multi-Health SystemsGoogle Scholar
  63. Paulhus D.L., 2002, Socially desirable responding: The evolution of a construct In Braun H., Jackson D., Wiley D., (Eds.), The Role of Constructs in Psychological and Educational Measurement Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers Mahwah (pp. 49–69)Google Scholar
  64. Paulhus D.L., Harms P.D., Bruce M.N., Lysy D.C., 2003, The over-claiming technique: Measuring self-enhancement independent of ability Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84(4): 890–904CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Pavot W., Diener E., 1993, Review of the satisfaction with life scale Psychological Assessment 5(2): 164–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Pavot W., Deiner E., Colvin C.R., Sandvik E., 1991, Further validation of the Satisfaction with Life Scale: Evidence of the cross-method convergence of well-being measures Journal of Personality Assessment 57: 149–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Pelham B.W., Koole S.L., Hardin C.D., Hetts J.J., Seah E., Dehart T., 2005, Gender moderates the relation between implicit and explicit self-esteem Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 41: 84–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Penley J.A., Tomaka J., Wiebe J.S., 2002, The association of coping to physical and psychological health outcomes: a meta-analytic review Journal of Behavioral Medicine 25: 551–603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Robinson J.P., Shaver P.R., Wrightsman L.S., 1991, Criteria for scale selection and evaluation In Robinson J.P., Shaver P.R., Wrightsman L.S., (Eds.), Measures of Personality and Social Psychological Attitudes 1 Academic Press Inc. San Diego (pp. 1–16)Google Scholar
  70. Rosenberg M., 1965, Society and the Adolescent Self-image Princeton University Press PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  71. Russell J., 2003, Core affect and the psychological construction of emotion Psychological Review 110(1): 145–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Russell J., Weiss A., Mendelshohn G.A., 1989, Affect grid: A single-item scale of pleasure and arousal Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 57: 493–502CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Schwartz N., Strack F., 1999, Reports of subjective well-being: Judgemental processes and their methodological implications In Kahneman D., Diener E., Schwarz N., (Eds.), Well-being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology Russell Sage New York (pp. 61–84)Google Scholar
  74. Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: March 1995, ‘Securing the future – UK government sustainable development strategy’. Retrieved March 27, 2006, from http://www.sustainable-development.gov.uk/publications/pdf/ strategy/SecFut_complete.pdfGoogle Scholar
  75. Sedikides C., Rudich E.A., Gregg A.P., Kumashiro M., Rusbult C., 2004, Are normal narcissists psychologically healthy? Self-esteem matters Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 87(3): 400–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Skaer T.L., Sclar D.A., Robison L.M., Galin R.S., 2000, Trend in the use of antidepressant pharmacotherapy and diagnosis of depression in the US: An assessment of office-based visits 1990 to 1998 CNS Drugs 14: 473–481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Spector P.E., Jex S.M., 1998, Development of four self-report measures of job stressors and strain: Interpersonal Conflict at Work scale, Organizational Constraints scale, Quantitative Workload Inventory, and Physical Symptoms Inventory Journal of Occupational Health Psychology 3: 356–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Statistics Canada: 2001, ‘2001 Census of Canada Community Profile for the City of Prince George’. Retrieved February 19, 2006, from http://www12.statcan.ca/english/profil01/CP01/Details/Page.cfm?Lang = E&Geo1 = CSD&Code1 = 5953023&Geo2 = PR&Code2 =  59&Data = Count&SearchText = Prince%20George&SearchType = Begins&SearchPR =  59&B1 = All&Custom =Google Scholar
  79. Statistics Canada: 2003, ‘Canadian community health survey: Mental health and well-being’, The Daily, 2003, September 3. Retrieved September 5, 2003, from http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/030903/d030903a.htmGoogle Scholar
  80. Tennen H., Affleck G., Coyne J.C., Larsen R.J., DeLongis A., 2006, Paper and plastic in daily diary research: Comment on Green, Rafaeli, Bolger, Shrout, and Reis (2006) Psychological Methods 11: 112–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Twenge J.M., 2000, The age of anxiety? Birth cohort change in anxiety and neuroticismJournal of Personality and Social Psychology 79(6): 1007–1021CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Ware J.E., Sherbourne C.D., 1992, The MOS 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36): I. Conceptual framework and item selection Medical Care 30: 473–483CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Watson D., Clark L.A., Tellegen A., 1988, Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 54(6): 1063–1070CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Wiggins J.S., 1973, Personality and Prediction: Principles of Personality Assessment Addison-Wesley ReadingGoogle Scholar
  85. Yip M.S.M., Russell J.A., Feldman Barrett L., 1999, Structure of self-reported current affect: Integration and beyond Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 77: 600–619CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Zanna M.P., Rempel J.K., 1988, Attitudes: A new look at an old concept In Bar-Tal D., Kruglanski A.W., (Eds.), The Social Psychology of Knowledge Cambridge University Press Cambridge (pp. 315–334)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Loraine F. Lavallee
    • 1
    Email author
  • P. Maurine Hatch
    • 1
  • Alex C. Michalos
    • 2
  • Tara McKinley
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology ProgramUniversity of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada
  2. 2.Institute for Social Research and Evaluation and Political Science ProgramUniversity of Northern British ColumbiaPrince GeorgeCanada

Personalised recommendations