The Concept of Life Satisfaction Across Cultures: Exploring Its Diverse Meaning and Relation to Economic Wealth

  • Joar VittersøEmail author
  • Espen Røysamb
  • Ed Diener
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 16)


The structural validity of the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) was tested with confirmatory factor analyses in 41 nations. In addition, life satisfaction was correlated with national wealth (GNP) in these societies, after correcting for the reliability of the life satisfaction measure. The homogeneity of the SWLS was found to be acceptable across all nations, but differed between levels of analyses. Aggregated to the national mean level, a nested factor was found to cause a rather strong covariance between the first and fifth SWLS items. Initially, the zero-order correlation between the SWLS and GNP was.42 (p <.05). However, after controlling for the psychometric properties of the SWLS scale, such as reliability and model fit, the relation between national wealth and life satisfaction was reduced to.25 (n.s.). Regressing GNP on the factor loadings for all five SWLS items revealed that, relatively, the first item (i.e. In most ways my life is close to my ideal) is a more significant satisfaction with life construct in rich nations compared with poor countries. This and other findings relating to how the meaning of life satisfaction varies with culture are discussed.


Life Satisfaction Confirmatory Factor Analysis Residential CARE Rich Country Life Scale 
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.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TromsøNorway
  2. 2.National Institute of Public HealthNorway
  3. 3.University of IllinoisUSA

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