Social Indicators Research

, Volume 65, Issue 3, pp 245–277

Global Judgments of Subjective Well-Being: Situational Variability and Long-Term Stability

  • Michael Eid
  • Ed Diener
Article

Abstract

Subjective well-being (SWB) is an important indicator of quality oflife. SWB can be conceptualized as a momentary state (e.g., mood) aswell as a relatively stable trait (e.g., life satisfaction). Thevalidity of self-reported trait aspects of SWB has been questioned byexperimental studies showing that SWB judgments seem to be stronglycontext dependent. Particularly, momentary mood seems to have a stronginfluence on global SWB judgments. To explore the ecological validity ofthese conclusions a non-experimental longitudinal self-reportstudy with three occasions of measurement was conducted(N = 249). The associations between momentarymood ratings and global judgments of SWB (life satisfaction,satisfaction with life domains, frequency and intensity of emotions) aswell as personality ratings (self-esteem, optimism, neuroticism,extraversion) were analyzed in a multistate-multitrait-multiconstructmodel. This model takes (a) measurement error, (b) occasion-specificdeviations, and (c) stable interindividual differences into account. Itis shown that the variability in global SWB judgments and personalityratings is relatively small and much smaller than the variability inmood. Furthermore, the occasion-specific associations between moodstates, on the one hand, and global SWB and personality ratings, on theother hand, are relatively small and inconsistent. All global SWB andpersonality variables are more strongly related to mood on the traitlevel than on the occasion-specific deviation level. Therefore, incontrast to experimental studies, occasion-specific mood effects do notseem to be inherently important in ecological measurement settings.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Amelang, M., K. Eisenhut and H. Rindermann: 1991, 'Responding to adjective check list items: A reaction time analysis', Personality and Individual Differences 12, pp. 523-533.Google Scholar
  2. Andrews, F.M. and R.F. Inglehart: 1979, 'The structure of subjective well-being in nine western societies', Social Indicators Research 6, pp. 73-91.Google Scholar
  3. Andrews, F.M. and J.B. Robinson: 1991, 'Measures of subjective well-being', in J.P. Robinson, P.R. Shaver and L.S. Wrightsman (eds.), Measures of Personality and Social Psychological Attitudes (Academic Press, San Diego, CA), pp. 61-114.Google Scholar
  4. Andrews, F.M. and S.B. Withey: 1976, Social Indicators of Well-being:America's Perception of Life Quality (Plenum, New York).Google Scholar
  5. Argyle, M.: 1987, The Psychology of Happiness (Routledge, London).Google Scholar
  6. Bachorowski, J.A. and E.B. Braaten: 1994, 'Emotional intensity: Measurement and theoretical implications', Personality and Individual Differences 17, pp. 191-199.Google Scholar
  7. Bentler, P.M.: 1995, EQS Structural Equations Program Manual (Multivariate Software, Inc., Encino, CA).Google Scholar
  8. Billingsley, K.D., C.A. Waehler and S.I. Hardin: 1993, 'Stability of optimism and choice of coping strategy', Perceptual and Motor Skills 76, pp. 91-97.Google Scholar
  9. Blaney, P.H.: 1986, 'Affect and memory: A review', Psychological Bulletin 99, pp. 229-246.Google Scholar
  10. Bradburn, N.M.: 1969, The Structure of Psychological Well-being (Aldine, Chicago).Google Scholar
  11. Bradley, B.P., K. Mogg, A. Perret and M. Galbraith: 1993, 'The effect of depressed mood of personality measures', Personality and Individual Differences 14, pp. 599-601.Google Scholar
  12. Brown, J.D. and T.A. Mankowski: 1993, 'Self-esteem, mood, and self-evaluation: Changes in mood and the way you see you', Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 64, pp. 421-430.Google Scholar
  13. Browne, J.P., H.M. McGee and C.A. O'Boyle: 1997, 'Conceptual approaches to the assessment of quality of life', Psychology and Health 12, pp. 737-751.Google Scholar
  14. Campbell, A.: 1981, The Sense of Well-being in America (McGraw-Hill, New York).Google Scholar
  15. Campbell, A., P.E. Converse and W.L Rodgers: 1976, The Quality of American Life. Perceptions, Evaluations, and Satisfactions (Russell Sage Foundation, New York).Google Scholar
  16. Deinzer, R., R. Steyer, M. Eid, P. Notz, P. Schwenkmezger, F. Ostendorf and A. Neubauer: 1995, 'Situational effects in trait assessment: The FPI, NEOFFI, and EPI questionnaires', European Journal of Personality 9, pp. 1-23.Google Scholar
  17. Diener, E.: 1984, 'Subjective well-being', Psychological Bulletin 95, pp. 542-575.Google Scholar
  18. Diener, E., R.A. Emmons, R.J. Larsen and S. Griffin: 1985, 'The satisfaction with life scale', Journal of Personality Assessment 49, pp. 71-75.Google Scholar
  19. Diener, E. and R.J. Larsen: 1993, 'The experience of emotional well-being', in M. Lewis and J.M. Haviland (eds.), Handbook of Emotions (Guilford, New York), pp. 405-416.Google Scholar
  20. Diener, E. and R. Lucas: 1999, 'Personality and subjective well-being', in D. Kahneman, E. Diener and N. Schwarz (eds.), Foundations of Hedonic Psychology: Specific Perspectives on Enjoyment and Suffering (Russell Sage Foundation, New York), pp. 213-229.Google Scholar
  21. Diener, E., H. Smith and F. Fujita: 1995, 'The personality structure of affect', Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 69, pp. 130-141.Google Scholar
  22. Eid, M.: 1996, 'Longitudinal confirmatory factor analysis for polytomous item responses. Model definition and model selection on the basis of stochastic measurement theory', Methods of Psychological Research — Online 1, pp. 65-85.Google Scholar
  23. Eid, M.: 1997, 'Happiness and satisfaction: An application of a latent state-trait model for ordinal variables', in J. Rost and R. Langeheine (eds.), Applications of Latent Trait and Latent Class Models in the Social Sciences (Waxmann, Münster), pp. 145-151.Google Scholar
  24. Eid, M. and E. Diener: 1999, 'Intraindividual variability in affect: Reliability, validity, and personality correlates', Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 76, pp. 662-676.Google Scholar
  25. Eid, M. and L. Hoffmann: 1998, 'Measuring variability and change with an item response model for polytomous variables', Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics 23, pp. 193-215.Google Scholar
  26. Eid, M., P. Notz, R. Steyer and P. Schwenkmezger: 1994, 'Validating scales for the assessment of mood level and variability by latent state-trait analyses. Personality and Individual Differences 16, pp. 63-76.Google Scholar
  27. Eysenck, H.J. and S.B.G. Eysenck: 1968, The Manual of the Eysenck-Personality Inventory (Educational and Industrial Testing Service, San Diego).Google Scholar
  28. Ferring, D., S.-H. Filipp and K. Schmidt: 1996, 'Die “Skala zur Lebensbewertung”: Empirische Skalenkonstruktion und erste Befunde zu Reliabilität, Stabilität und Validatät’ [The “Skala zur Lebensbewertung:” Scale construction and findings on reliability, stability, and validity] Zeitschrift für Differentielle und Diagnostische Psychologie 17, pp. 141-153.Google Scholar
  29. Jöreskog, K.G.: 1979, 'Statistical estimation of structural models in longitudinal investigations', in J.R. Nesselroade and P.B. Baltes (eds.), Longitudinal Research in the Study of Behavior and Development (Academic Press, New York), pp. 303-351.Google Scholar
  30. Kozma, A., S. Stone, M.J. Stones, T.E. Hannah and K. McNeil: 1990, 'Long-and short-term affective states in happiness: Model, paradigm, and experimental evidence', Social Indicators Research 22, pp. 119-138.Google Scholar
  31. Larsen, R.J. and E. Diener: 1987, 'Affect intensity as an individual difference characteristic: A review', Journal of Research in Personality 21, pp. 1-39.Google Scholar
  32. Lewis, L.M., W.N. Dember, B.K. Schefft and R.A. Radenhausen: 1995, 'Can experimentally induced mood affect optimism and pessimism scores?', Current Psychology, Developmental, Learning, Personality, Social 14, pp. 29-41.Google Scholar
  33. Marsh, H.W. and D. Grayson: 1994, 'Longitudinal confirmatory factor analyses: Common, time-specific, item-specific, and residual-error components of variance', Structural Equation Modeling 1, pp. 116-145.Google Scholar
  34. Myers, D.G. and E. Diener: 1995, 'Who is happy?', Psychological Science 6, pp. 10-19.Google Scholar
  35. Pavot, W. and E. Diener: 1993, 'Review of the satisfaction with life scale', Psychological Assessment 5, pp. 164-172.Google Scholar
  36. Robinson, M.D.: 2000, 'The reactive and prospective functions of mood: Its role in linking daily experiences and cognitive well-being', Cognition an Emotion 14, pp. 145-176.Google Scholar
  37. Rosenberg, M.: 1965, Society and the Adolescent Self-image (Princeton University Press, Princeton).Google Scholar
  38. Satorra, A. and P. Bentler: 1994, 'Corrections to test statistics and standard errors in covariance structure analysis', in A. von Eye and C.C. Clogg (eds.), Analysis of Latent Variables in Developmental Research (Sage, Newbury Park, CA), pp. 399-419.Google Scholar
  39. Scheier, M.F. and C.S. Carver: 1985, 'Optimism, coping, and health: Assessment and implications of generalized outcome expectancies', Health Psychology 4, pp. 219-247.Google Scholar
  40. Schuerger, J.M., K.L. Zarrella and A.S. Hotz: 1989, 'Factor that influence the temporal stability of personality by questionnaire', Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 56, pp. 777-783.Google Scholar
  41. Schwarz, N. and F. Strack: 1991, 'Evaluating one's life: A judgment model of subjective well-being', in F. Strack, M. Argyle and N. Schwarz (eds.), Subjective Well-being (Pergamon, Oxford), pp. 27-47.Google Scholar
  42. Schwarz, M. and F. Strack: 1999, 'Reports of subjective well-being: Judgmental processes and their methodological implications', in D. Kahneman, E. Diener and N. Schwarz (eds.), Foundations of Hedonic Psychology: Scientific Perspectives on Enjoyment and Suffering (Russell Sage Foundation, New York), pp. 61-84.Google Scholar
  43. Steiger, J.: 1990, 'Structure model evaluation and modification: An Interval estimation approach', Multivariate Behavioral Research 25, pp. 173-180.Google Scholar
  44. Steyer, R., D. Ferring and M. Schmitt: 1992, 'On the definition of states and traits', European Journal of Psychological Assessment 2, pp. 79-98.Google Scholar
  45. Steyer, R., P. Schwenkmezger, P. Notz and M. Eid: 1994, 'Testtheoretische Analysen des Mehrdimensionalen Bfindlichkeitsfragebogens (MDBF)’ [Theoretical analysis of the multidimensional mood questionnaire (MDBF)]. Diagnostica 40, pp. 320-328.Google Scholar
  46. Veenhoven, R.: 1994, 'Is happiness a trait? Test of the theory that a better society does not make people any happier', Social Indicators Research 32, pp. 101-160.Google Scholar
  47. William, R.L., M. Eyring, P. Gaynor and J.D. Long: 1991, Psychology and Health 5, pp. 165-181.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Eid
    • 1
  • Ed Diener
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUSA

Personalised recommendations