Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 305–328 | Cite as

Conceptual Domains Included in Wellbeing and Life Satisfaction Instruments: A Review

  • Sherma J. Charlemagne-BadalEmail author
  • Jerry W. Lee
  • Terry L. Butler
  • Gary E. Fraser


Wellbeing and life satisfaction instruments are increasingly used in health outcome research, and by health professionals. Despite their usefulness, the absence of an agreed on conceptual definition of wellbeing, and corresponding inconsistencies in operationalization, makes it difficult for researchers to operationalize the concept, and for health professionals to determine which instruments are most suitable for use. Therefore the aim of the study was to identify and define conceptual domains included in wellbeing, and life satisfaction instruments and delineate their operationalization. Using the Health and Psychosocial Instruments database (HaPI), a search for wellbeing and life satisfaction instruments was conducted for all available years using the key words of wellbeing, wellness, life satisfaction, and personal satisfaction. Measurement instruments were critically reviewed using five coding guides. Next, three raters content-analyzed the 680 items in the instruments and identified 15 conceptual domains. Finally, five other raters separately coded items into the 15 domains with a .83 coefficient of agreement. Twenty-six of the 250 instruments met inclusion criteria. The documents revealed moderate or high reliability and validity for the instruments. Items from the emotional health, physical health, social health, and non-leisure activities domains were most commonly included in the instruments. These domains were included in 73, 69, 65, and 65 % of all instruments respectively. No instrument included items from all 15 domains; the largest number included was 12 in two instruments. Despite the need for a comprehensive wellbeing instrument for research, and clinical applications, most wellbeing and life satisfaction instruments include only a few domains.


Wellbeing Life satisfaction Systematic review Measurement instruments 



We would like to thank Dr. Ervin Taylor, Carla Fider, Dominick Sturz, Lorraine Thomas, and one other for categorizing the domains as described in the third phase of this research. We would also like to thank the school of public health for funding the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sherma J. Charlemagne-Badal
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jerry W. Lee
    • 2
  • Terry L. Butler
    • 3
  • Gary E. Fraser
    • 3
  1. 1.Nichol Hall Department of Health Policy and Management, School of Public HealthLoma Linda UniversityLoma LindaUSA
  2. 2.Nichol Hall Department of Health Promotion and Education, School of Public HealthLoma Linda UniversityLoma LindaUSA
  3. 3.Nichol Hall Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Population Medicine, School of Public HealthLoma Linda UniversityLoma LindaUSA

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