Social Indicators Research

, Volume 124, Issue 3, pp 993–1013 | Cite as

Priming Effects in Measuring Life Satisfaction

  • Bogdan VoicuEmail author


Life satisfaction, as an indicator of subjective well-being, has received increasing attention in the recent decades. It has become a potential indicator of development, to be used complementary to objective measures. However, no clear consensus exists on the relationship between life satisfaction and satisfaction with the various domains of life as well as on the measurement of life satisfaction. This paper addresses the relationship between overall life satisfaction and domain satisfaction (DS). The objective is to identify potential biases induced by priming effects when measuring DS. Four types of theoretical models, derived from existing literature, are tested in different scenarios. Data from three waves of the European Quality of Life Surveys are analyzed using a structural equation modeling framework to provide empirical evidence. An original experimental design is employed to demonstrate that priming effects cannot be ignored. A comparison of models including priming effects and those ignoring such biases shows that the former is a better fit and has higher propensity to explain the variations in life satisfaction and DS.


Life satisfaction Domain satisfaction Priming effects Measurement invariance Top-down approaches Bottom-up approaches EQLS 



This work was supported by the CNCS-UEFISCDI grants PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0210 and PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0669. The author thanks Paula Tufiş, Marian Vasile and Mircea Comşa for valuable comments on early versions of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute for Quality of LifeRomanian AcademyBucharestRomania
  2. 2.Department of SociologyLucian Blaga University of SibiuSibiuRomania

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