Social Indicators Research

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

Priming Effects in Measuring Life Satisfaction

Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

Notes

Acknowledgments

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.

References

  1. Althaus, S. L., & Kim, Y. M. (2006). Priming effects in complex information environments: Reassessing the impact of news discourse on presidential approval. Journal of Politics, 68(4), 960–976.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andrews, F. M., & Withey, S. B. (1976). Social Indicators of well-being. Americans’ perceptions of life quality. New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Biemer, P. P., & Lyberg, L. E. (2003). Introduction to survey quality. New York: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Böhnke, P. (2005). First European quality of life survey: Life satisfaction, happiness and sense of belonging. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.Google Scholar
  5. Brief, A. P., Butcher, A. H., George, J. M., & Link, K. E. (1993). Integrating bottom-up and top-down theories of subjective well-being: The case of health. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64(4), 646–653.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Campbell, A., Converse, P. E., & Rodgers, W. L. (1976). The quality of American life perceptions, evaluations, and satisfactions. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  7. Casas, F., Figuer, C., González, M., & Coenders, G. (2004). Satisfaction with life domains and salient values for future: Data from children and their parents in five different countries. In W. Glatzer, S. von Below, & M. Stoffregen (Eds.), Challenges for the quality of life in contemporary societies (pp. 233–248). Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cesario, J. (2014). Priming, replication, and the hardest science. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 9(1), 40–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen, F. F. (2007). Sensitivity of goodness of fit indexes to lack of measurement invariance. Structural Equation Modeling, 14(3), 464–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Christoph, B., & Noll, H. (2003). Subjective well-being in the European Union during the 90s. Social Indicators Research, 64(3), 521–546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Comşa, M. (2010). How to compare means of latent variables across countries and waves: Testing for invariance measurement. An application using eastern European societies. Sociológia, 42(6), 639–669.Google Scholar
  12. Converse, J. M., & Presser, S. (1986). Survey questions: Handcrafting the standardized questionnaire. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Costa, P. T., & McRae, R. R. (1980). Influence of extraversion and neuroticism on subjective well-being: Happy and unhappy people. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38, 668–678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Crano, W. D., & Brewer, M. B. (2002). Principles and methods of social research. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  15. Cummins, R. A. (2003). Normative life satisfaction: Measurement issues and a homeostatic model. Social Indicators Research, 64(2), 225–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cummins, R. A., Lau, A. L. D., & Davern, M. T. (2012). Subjective wellbeing homeostasis. In K. C. Land, et al. (Eds.), Handbook of social indicators and quality of life research (pp. 79–98). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Delhey, J. (2004). Life satisfaction in an enlarged Europe. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.Google Scholar
  18. Diener, E. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 542–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Diener, E. (1994). Assessing subjective well-being: Progress and opportunities. Social Indicators Research, 31, 103–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Diener, E., & Suh, E. (1997). Measuring quality of life: Economic, social, and subjective indicators. Social Indicators Research, 40, 189–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Domke, D., Shah, D. V., & Wackman, D. B. (1998). Media priming effects: Accessibility, association, and activation. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 10(1), 51–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Feldman, J. M., & Lynch, J. G, Jr. (1988). Self-generated validity and other effects of measurement of belief, attitude, intention, and behavior. Journal of Applied Psychology, 73, 421–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations, 7, 117–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Harris, J. L., Bargh, J. A., & Brownell, K. D. (2009). Priming effects of television food advertising on eating behavior. Health Psychology, 28(4), 404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Headey, B., Veenhoven, R., & Wearing, A. (1991). Top-down versus bottom-up theories of subjective well-being. Social Indicators Research, 24(1), 81–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hsieh, C. M. (2008). The relative importance of health. Social Indicators Research, 84(1), 127–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hutchison, K. A., et al. (2013). The semantic priming project. Behavior Research Methods, 45(4), 1099–1114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kaplan, S. A., Luchman, J. N., & Mock, L. (2013). General and specific question sequence effects in satisfaction surveys: Integrating directional and correlational effects. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14(5), 1443–1458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kim, S.-H., Han, M., & Scheufele, D. A. (2010). Think about him this way: Priming, news media, and South Koreans’ evaluation of the president. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 22(3), 299–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kline, R. B. (2006). Reversed arrows dynamics. In G. R. Hancock & R. O. Mueller (Eds.), Structural equation modeling: A second course (pp. 43–68). Charlotte, NC: IAP.Google Scholar
  31. Krosnick, J. A., & Alwin, D. F. (1987). An evaluation of a cognitive theory of response order effects in survey measurement. Public Opinion Quarterly, 51, 201–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lance, C. E., Lautenschlager, G. J., Sloan, C. E., & Varca, P. E. (1989). A comparison between bottom-up, top-down, and bidirectional models of relationships between global and life facet satisfaction. Journal of Personality, 57(3), 601–624.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Leonardi, F., Spazzafumo, L., & Marcellini, F. (2005). Subjective well-being: The constructionist point of view. A longitudinal study to verify the predictive power of top-down effects and bottom-up processes. Social Indicators Research, 70, 53–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Michalos, A. C. (1985). Multiple discrepancies theory (MDT). In A. C. Michalos (Ed.), Citation Classics from social indicators research. The most cited articles edited and introduced by Alex C. Michalos (pp. 305–372). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  35. Mihalache, F. F. (2008). Top-down vs. bottom-up: Two perspectives in explaining life satisfaction. Calitatea vieţii, 1–2, 71–83.Google Scholar
  36. Ortells, J. J., Vellido, C., Daza, M. T., & Noguera, C. (2007). Semantic priming effects with and without perceptual awareness. Psicológica, 27(2), 225–242.Google Scholar
  37. Rode, J. C. (2004). Job satisfaction and life satisfaction revisited: A longitudinal test of an integrated model. Human Relations, 57(9), 1205–1230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rode, J. C., & Near, J. P. (2005). Spillover between work attitude and overall life attitudes: Myth or reality? Social Indicators Research, 70(1), 79–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Schimmack, U., Diener, E., & Oishi, S. (2002). Life-satisfaction is a momentary judgment and a stable personality characteristic: The use of chronically accessible and stable sources. Journal of Personality, 70, 345–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schuman, H., & Presser, S. (1981). Questions and answers in attitude surveys: Experiments on question form, wording, and context. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  41. Suls, J., & Wheeler, L. (2012). Social comparison. In P. Van Lange, A. Kruglanski, & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of theories of social psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 460–482). London: Sage Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Tourangeau, R., & Rasinski, K. A. (1988). Cognitive processes underlying context effects in attitude measurement. Psychological Bulletin, 103, 299–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tourangeau, R., Rips, L. J., & Rasinski, K. (2000). The psychology of survey response. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Veenhoven, R. (2007). Subjective measures of well-being. In McGillivray (Ed.), Human well-being. Concept and measurement, houndmills, New Hampshire (pp. 214–239). USA: Palgrave/McMillan.Google Scholar
  45. Voicu, B., & Pop, C. (2011). Measurement models of life satisfaction: A SEM approach. Calitatea Vieţii, 2(2011), 137–154.Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations