Review of the Satisfaction With Life Scale

Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 39)


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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alfonso, V. C., Allison, D. B. (1992a). Further development of the Extended Satisfaction With Life Scale. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  2. Alfonso, V. C., Allison, D. B. (1992b). The readability of the Extended Satisfaction With Life Scale. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  3. Allison, D. B.,Alfonso, V. C., Dunn, G. M. (1991). The extended Satisfaction With Life Scale. The Behavior Therapist, 5, 15–16.Google Scholar
  4. Allman, A., Diener, E. (1990). Measurement issues and the subjective well-being of people with disabilities. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  5. Andrews, F. M., Withey, S. B. (1976). Social indicators of well-being America’s perception of life quality. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  6. Arrindell, W. A., Ettema, J. H. M. (1986). SCL-90: Handleiding bijeen multidimensionele psychopathologie-indicator. Lisse, The Netherlands: Swets Test Services.Google Scholar
  7. Arrindell, W. A.,Meeuwesen, L., Huyse, F. J. (1991). The Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS): Psychometric properties in a non-psychiatric medical outpatients sample. Personality and Individual Differences, 12, 117–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Balatsky, G., Diener, E. (1993). A comparison of the well-being of Soviet and American students. Social Indicators Research, 28, 225–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Beck, A. T.,Ward, C. H.,Mendelson, M.,Mock, J., Erbaugh, J. (1961). An inventory for measuring depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 4, 561–571.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Beiser, M. (1974). Components and correlates of mental well-being. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 15, 320–327.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Blais, M. R.,Vallerand, R. J.,Pelletier, L. G., Briere, N. M. (1989). L’Echelle de satisfaction de vie: Validation Canadienne-Francaise du “Satisfaction With Life Scale” [French-Canadian Validation of the Satisfaction With Life Scale]. Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science, 21, 210–223.Google Scholar
  12. Botwin, M.,Diener, E., Tomarelli, M. (1992). On the undersirability of controlling social desirability. Personal communication, California State University at Fresno.Google Scholar
  13. Campbell, A.,Converse, P. E., Rogers, W. L. (1976). The quality of American life. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  14. Carstenson, L. L., Cone, J. D. (1983). Social desirability and the measurement of psychological well being in elderly persons. Journal of Gerontology, 38, 713–715.Google Scholar
  15. Chamberlain, K. (1988). On the structure of well-being. Social Indicators Research, 20, 581–604.Google Scholar
  16. Chwalisz, K.,Diener, E., Gallagher, D. (1988). Autonomic arousal feedback and emotional experience: Evidence from the spinal cord injured. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 820–828.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. DeHaes, J. C.,Pennink, B. J. W., Welvaart, K. (1987). The distinction between affect and cognition. Social Indicators Research, 19, 367–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Derogatis, L. R. (1977). SCL-90: Administration, scoring procedures manual-I for the r(evised) version and other instruments of the psychopathology rating scale series. Baltimore, MD: Clinical Psychometrics Research Unit, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.Google Scholar
  19. Diener, E. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 542–575.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Diener, E. (1990). Issues in defining and measuring subjective well-being. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  21. Diener, E., Emmons, R. A. (1984). The independence of positive and negative affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 1105–1117.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Diener, E.,Emmons, R. A.,Larsen, R. J., Griffin, S. (1985). The Satisfaction With Life Scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Diener, E., Larsen, R. J. (1993). The subjective experience of emotional well-being. In M. Lewis J. M. Haviland (Eds), Handbook of emotions (pp. 405–415) New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  24. Diener, E., Magnus, K., Fujita, F. (1991). A longitudinal examination of life events and subjective well-being. Unpublished Manuscript, University of Illinois.Google Scholar
  25. Diener, E.,Sandvik, E.,Pavot, W., Gallaher, D. (1991). Response artifacts in the measurement of subjective well-being. Social Indicators Research, 24, 36–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Fordyce, M. W. (1977). The happiness measures: A sixty-second index of emotional well-being and mental health. Unpublished manuscript, Edison Community College, Ft. Myers, FL.Google Scholar
  27. Frisch, M. B.,Cornell, J.,Villanueva, M., Retzlaff, P. (1992). Clinical validation of the Quality of Life Inventory: A measure of life satisfaction for use in treatment planning and outcome assessment. Psychological Assessment, 4, 92–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Fujita, F. Diener, E. (1992). Social comparison and domain satisfactions. Research in progress.Google Scholar
  29. George, J. M. (1991). Time structure and purpose as a mediator of work-life linkages. Journal of Applied Psychology, 21, 296–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Husek, T. R. (1961).  Acquiescence as a response set and as a personality characteristic. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 21, 295–307.Google Scholar
  31. Joy, R. H. (1990). Path analytic investigation of stress-symptom relationships: Physical and psychological symptom models. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Google Scholar
  32. Judge, T. (1990). Job satisfaction as a reflection of disposition: Investigating the relationship and its effects on employee adaptive behaviors. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Illinois.Google Scholar
  33. Kammann, R., Flett, R. (1983). Affectometer 2: A scale to measure current level of general happiness. Australian Journal of Psychology, 35, 257–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kozma, A., Stones, M. J. (1980). The measurement of happiness: Development of the Memorial University of Newfoundland Scale of Happiness (MUNSCH). Journal of Gerontology, 35, 906–912.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Larsen, R. J.,Diener, E., Emmons, R. A. (1985). An evaluation of subjective well-being measures. Social Indicators Research, 17, 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Liang, J. (1985). A structural integration of the Affect Balance Scale and the Life Satisfaction Index A. Journal of Gerontology, 40, 552–561.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Magnus, K.,Diener, E.,Fujita, F., Pavot, W. (1993). Extraversion and neuroticism as predictors of objective life events: A longitudinal analysis.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 1046–1053.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. McGarrahan, J. F. (1991). Family of origin, antecedents of religious vocation, community experience, and life satisfaction of active and contemplative religious women. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Temple University.Google Scholar
  39. Pavot, W., Diener, E. (1993). The affective and cognitive context of self-reported measures of subjective well-being. Social Indicators Research, 28, 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pavot, W.,Diener, E.,Colvin, C. R., Sandvik, E. (1991). Further validation of the Satisfaction With Life Scale: Evidence for the cross-method convergence of well-being measures. Journal of Personality Assessment, 57, 149–161.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rorer, L. G. (1965). The great response-style myth. Psychological Bulletin, 63, 129–156.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Schwarz, N., Clore, G. L. (1983). Mood, misattribution, and judgments of well-being: Informative and directive functions of affective states. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 513–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schwarz, N., Strack, F. (1991). Evaluating one’s life: A judgment model of subjective well-being. In F. Strack, M. Argyle, N. Schwarz (Eds.), Subjective well-being: An interdisciplinary perspective (pp. 27–47). Oxford, England: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  44. Shao, L., Diener, E. (1992). Multilanguage comparability of life satisfaction and happiness measures in mainland Chinese and American Students. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Illinois.Google Scholar
  45. Shin, D. C., Johnson, D. M. (1978). Avowed happiness as an overall assessment of the quality of life. Social Indicators Research, 5, 475–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Smead, V. S. (1991). Measuring well-being is not easy. Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology.Google Scholar
  47. Stock, W. A.,Okun, M. A., Benin, M. (1986). Structure of subjective well-being among the elderly. Psychology and Aging, 1, 91–102.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Tellegen, A. (1982). Brief manual of the Differential Personality Questionnaires. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  49. Veenhoven, R. (1984). Conditions of happiness. Hingham, MA: Kluwer Boston Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  50. Veenhoven, R. (1991). Questions on happiness: Classical topics, modern answers, blind spots. In F.Strack, M. Argyle, N. Schwarz (Eds.), Subjective well-being: An interdisciplinary perspective (pp. 7–26). Oxford, England: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  51. Vitaliano, P. P.,Russo, J.,Young, H. M.,Becker, J., Maiuro, R. D. (1991). The screen for caregiver burden. The Gerontologist, 31, 76–83.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Watson, D.,Clark, L. A., Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063–1070.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Won, H. (in progress). Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Oregon.Google Scholar
  54. Yardley, J. K., Rice, R. W. (1991). The relationship between mood and subjective well-being. Social Indicators Research, 24, 101–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologySouthwest Minnesota State UniversityMarshallUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois, Urbana-champaignChampaignUSA

Personalised recommendations