Assessing Well-Being

Volume 39 of the series Social Indicators Research Series pp 101-117

Review of the Satisfaction With Life Scale

  • William PavotAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Southwest Minnesota State University
  • , Ed DienerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-champaign Email author 

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The Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) was developed to assess satis-faction with the respondent’s life as a whole. The scale does not assess satisfaction with life domains such as health or finances but allows subjects to integrate and weight these domains in whatever way they choose. Normative data are presented for the scale, which shows good convergent validity with other scales and with other types of assessments of subjective well-being. Life satisfaction as assessed by the SWLS shows a degree of temporal stability (e.g., 0.54 for 4 years), yet the SWLS has shown sufficient sensitivity to be potentially valuable to detect change in life satis-faction during the course of clinical intervention. Further, the scale shows discrim-inant validity from emotional well-being measures. The SWLS is recommended as a complement to scales that focus on psychopathology or emotional well-being because it assesses an individuals’ conscious evaluative judgment of his or her life by using the person’s own criteria.