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Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) for Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction Ratings; Multiple Group Invariance Analysis Across Scales with Different Response Format

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The current study evaluates three hypothesized models on subjective well-being, comprising life domain ratings (LDR), overall satisfaction with life (OSWL), and overall dissatisfaction with life (ODWL), using structural equation modeling (SEM). A sample of 1,310 volunteering students, randomly assigned to six conditions, rated their overall life (dis)satisfaction and their (dis)satisfaction with six different life domains. Each condition used one of six response formats, differing in (1) orientation (horizontal vs. vertical), and (2) anchoring (0 to 10, −5 to +5, and Not numbered). The results of a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) support a six-factor model of LDR based on satisfaction or dissatisfaction items. However, our findings indicate that the kind of response format used to obtain satisfaction and dissatisfaction ratings can affect the factor loadings. Our results indicate that the proposed models of OSWL, and ODWL fit the data well, and are able to predict OSWL and ODWL, respectively. Moreover, among six life domains, which figure as the latent variables in our models, psychological well-being was found to be the strongest predictor of both OSWL and ODWL.

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  1. 1.

    When a scale is scored 0-X, %SM is calculated through the formula [(score) × 100/(number of scale points − 1)]. This procedure standardizes data onto a 0–100 scale. In comparison, the formula would become [(score − 1) × 100/(number of scale points − 1)] if a scale scoring starts from the number one (Cummins 1995).

  2. 2.

    To be a good measure of its underlying construct, an item needs to have a significant factor loading and an acceptable communality (Byrne 1998). A factor loading is significantly different from zero when its value is greater than twice its standard error.

  3. 3.

    As seen in Table 11, the χ2 statistic obtained from U-H (0–10) for the model was 27.98 (df = 16, p < .023), which may seem to suggest an inadequate fit of the model. Still, other indicators show much more favorable results (RMSEA = .05; CFI = 1.00; NNFI = .98; IFI = .99). Moreover, the 90% confidence limit for the RMSEA is between .02 and .08 suggesting a satisfactory model fit.

  4. 4.

    For scores derived from H (−5 to +5) pathways between overall life dissatisfaction and following latent were found nonsignificant; Leisure, Financial situation and student life. When using H (No num.), pathways between overall life dissatisfaction and following latent variables were shown nonsignificant; social relations, leisure, and student life.


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Correspondence to Mehrdad Mazaheri.

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Mazaheri, M., Theuns, P. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) for Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction Ratings; Multiple Group Invariance Analysis Across Scales with Different Response Format. Soc Indic Res 91, 203 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-008-9278-8

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  • Structural equation modeling
  • Satisfaction
  • Dissatisfaction
  • Multiple group invariance analysis