Cross-Cultural Correlates of Life Satisfaction and Self-Esteem

  • Ed DienerEmail author
  • Marissa Diener
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 38)


College students in 31 nations (N = 13,118) completed measures of self-esteem, life satisfaction, and satisfaction with specific domains (friends, family, and finances). The authors assessed whether cross-cultural variations in the strength of associations were related to societal dimensions including income and individualism. At the national level, individualism correlated −0.24 (ns) with heterogeneity and 0.71 (p<0.001) with wealth. At the individual level, self-esteem and life satisfaction were correlated 0.47 for the entire sample. This relation, however, was moderated by the individualism of the society. The associations of financial, friend, and family satisfactions with life satisfaction and with self-esteem also varied across nations. Financial satisfaction was a stronger correlate of life satisfaction in poorer countries. It was found that life satisfaction and self-esteem were clearly discriminable constructs. Satisfaction ratings, except for financial satisfaction, varied between slightly positive and fairly positive.


Life Satisfaction Neutral Point National Difference Gross National Product Family Satisfaction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Andrews, F. M., & Withey, S. B. (1976). Social indicators of well-being: America’s perception of life quality. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  2. Campbell, A. (1981). The sense of well-being in America: Recent patterns and trends. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  3. Campbell, A., Converse, P. E., & Rodgers, W. L. (1976). The quality of American life. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  4. Diener, E. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 542–575.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Diener, E., & Diener, C. (1993). Most people in the United States are happy and satisfied. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  6. Diener, E., Diener, M., & Diener, C. (1995). Factors predicting the subjective well-being of nations. Journel of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 851–864.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Diener, E., & Fujita, F. (1995). Resources, personal strivings, and subjective well-being: A nomothetic and idiographic approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 926–935.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Diener, E., & Larsen, R. J. (1993). The experience of emotional well-being. In M. Lewis & J. M. Haviland (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (pp. 405–415). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  9. Diener, E., Sandvik, E., Seidlitz, L., & Diener, M. (1993). The relationship between income and subjective well-being: Relative or absolute? Social Indicators Research, 28, 195–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Diener, E., Suh, E., Smith, H., & Shao, L. (1995). National differences in reported subjective well-being: Why do they occur? Social Indicators Research, 34, 7–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Estes, R. J. (1986, September). Trends in global social development, 1970–1986. Paper presented at the Global Development Conference, College Park, MD.Google Scholar
  12. Fujita, F., Diener, E., & Sandvik, E. (1991). Gender differences in negative affect and well-being: The case for emotional intensity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 427–434.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hedges, L. V., & Olkin, I. (1985). Statistical methods for meta-analysis. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  14. Herzog, A. R., Rodgers, W. L., & Woodworth, J. (1982). Subjective well-being among different age groups. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
  15. Hoffman, M. S. (1991). The world almanac and book of facts: 1992. New York: Pharos Books.Google Scholar
  16. Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Kitayama, S., & Markus, H. R. (in press). Construal of the self as cultural frame: Implications for internationalizing psychology. In H. K. Jacobsen (Ed.), Internationalization and higher education.Google Scholar
  18. Maslow, A. H. (1954). Motivation and personality. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  19. McNemar, Q. (1969). Psychological statistics. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  20. Michalos, A. C. (1991). Global report on student well-being. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  21. Singer, J. L. (1984). The human personality. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.Google Scholar
  22. Triandis, H. C. (1989). The self and social behavior in differing cultural contexts. Psychological Review, 96, 506–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Veenhoven, R. (1991). Is happiness relative? Social Indicators Research, 24, 1–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of IllinoisChampaignUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family and Consumer StudiesUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

Personalised recommendations