Subjective Indicators of Personal Well-Being among Adolescents. Performance and Results for Different Scales in Latin-Language Speaking Countries: A Contribution to the International Debate
- 626 Downloads
Different single-item and multiple-item scales are used as subjective indicators of well-being in the international arena. However, very few cross-cultural studies exist into subjective indicators of well-being among adolescent populations. In this study, three different multi-item scales, variations of these scales and several single items –all of them previously used separately in international research- were tested together on 12 to 16-year-old adolescents in 4 different countries with Latin-based languages (Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Spain). The scales are the PWI (Cummins, Eckersley, van Pallant, Vugt, Misajon, et al., Social Indicators Research, 64, 159–190, 2003), SWLS (Diener, Emmons, Larsen & Smith, Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75, 1985) and BMSLSS (Seligson, Huebner & Valois, Social Indicators Research, 61, 121–145, 2003). The single-item scales explored are: one on overall life satisfaction (OLS), one on happiness with overall life (HOL), Fordyce’s single-item scale, two items from Russell’s scale (2003) on core affects (CAS), one on happiness and another on satisfaction and the optional item 6 of the BMSLSS. The performance of these scales is analyzed by taking into account overall scores from the pooled sample and scores in each country. Special attention has been paid to any trends in scores for each subjective well-being measure across age, as up until now diverse results have been obtained in different countries when using different instruments. In order to contribute to the debate on happiness versus satisfaction with life specifically in adolescents’ populations, multi-group structural equation models with factor invariance constraints have been used to model together the PWI, SWLS and BMSLSS in Brazil, Chile and Spain, with Argentina excluded due to the sample size being too small. The HOL, OLS and age were used as predictors of the three scales. The strongest relationships were between the BMSLSS and the HOL, the SWLS and the OLS, and between the PWI and the OLS. Age showed low but significant negative correlations with all three scales. A second order factor analysis model has also been tested, with some limitations. Results show directions for future exploration of a second order latent variable related to the 3 multiple-item scales, which would represent the “macro-construct” of positive life suggested by some authors. The interest in using these scales and items for cross-country comparison is discussed.
KeywordsSubjective well-being Adolescents PWI SWLS BMSLSS Happiness Life satisfaction Positive psychology Psychological assessment Subjective indicators
The Spanish research presented here has been funded by the Spanish Government’s Ministry of Science and Education, with reference number SEJ2007-62813/PS.
In Argentina the project was made possible by the support of the Cooperation Program between Argentina (MINCYT) and Brazil (CAPES) BR/08/18.
- Adamson, P. (Ed.) (2007). Child poverty in perspective: an overview of child well-being in rich countries. Report Card 7. Innocenti Research Centre. UNICEF.Google Scholar
- Arbuckle, J. L. (2010). IBM SPSS® Amos™ 19 User’s Guide. Crawfordville (Fl). Amos Development Corporation.Google Scholar
- Batista-Foguet, J. M., & Coenders, G. (2000). Modelos de ecuaciones estructurales. Madrid: La Muralla.Google Scholar
- Browne, M. W., & Cudeck, R. (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In K. A. Bollen & J. S. Long (Eds.), Testing structural equation models (pp. 136–162). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Byrne, B. M. (2010). Structural equation modeling with AMOS. Basic concepts, applications and programming (2nd ed.). N.Y. Routledge.Google Scholar
- Camfield, L. (2006). Why and how of understanding “subjective” well-being: Exploratory work by the WeD Group in four developing countries. WeD Working Paper, 26. Bath. Wellbeing in Developing Countries (WeD) Research Group.Google Scholar
- Campbell, A., Converse, P. E., & Rogers, W. L. (1976). The quality of American life: Perceptions, evaluations, and satisfactions. Russell Sage: New York.Google Scholar
- Casas, F., Baltatescu, S., González, M., & Hatos, A. (2009). Similarities and differences in the PWI of Romanian and Spanish adolescents aged 13–16 years-old. Conference presentation. International Society for Quality of Life Studies. Florence, July 19–23.Google Scholar
- Cummins, R. A., & Cahill, J. (2000). Avances en la comprensión de la calidad de vida subjetiva. Intervención Psicosocial, 9(2), 185–198.Google Scholar
- Cummins, R.A., Eckersley, R., van Pallant, J.; Vugt, J., & Misajon, R. (2003). Developing a national index of subjective well-being: The Australian Unity Well-being Index. Social Indicators Research, 64, 159–190. (Updated in: http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/acqol/instruments/well-being_index.htm
- Cummins, R. A., Eckersley, R., Lo, S. K., Okerstrom, E., Hunter, B., & Davern, M. (2003). Australian Unity Wellbeing Index: Cumulative Psychometric Record. Report 9.0. Australian Centre on Quality of Life. http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/acqol/instruments/PWI/Cumulative_Psychometric_Record_Australian_data.doc
- Cummins, R. A., & Gullone, E. (2000). Why we should not use 5-point Likert scales: The case for subjective quality of life measurement. Proceedings Second International Conference on Quality of Life in Cities, 74–93. Singapore. National University of Singapore.Google Scholar
- Cummins, R. A., & Lau, A. L. D. (2005). Personal Wellbeing Index – School Children (PWI-SC) (English) (3rd ed.). Manual. Reviwed May 2006. http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/acqol/instruments/PWI/PWI-school.pdf
- Diener, E., & Suh, E. M. (Eds.). (2000). Culture and subjective well-being. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Diener, E., & Tov, W. (2007). Culture and subjective well-being. In S. Kitayama & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of cultural psychology (pp. 691–713). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- International Wellbeing Group (2006). Personal Wellbeing Index – Adult - Manual, 4th version. Melbourne: Australian Centre on Quality of Life, Deakin University. http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/acqol/instruments/well-being_index.htm
- Tomyn, A. J., & Cummins, R. A. (2010). The subjective wellbeing of high-school students: validating the personal wellbeing index—School Children. Social Indicators Research. doi: 10.1007/s11205-010-9668-6.
- Veenhoven, R. (1994). El estudio de la satisfacción con la vida. Intervención Psicosocial, III (9), 87–116; y IV (10), 125–127.Google Scholar
- Veenhoven, R. (2009). Medidas de felicidad nacional bruta. Intervención Psicosocial, 18(3), 279–299.Google Scholar