Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS)

The SWLS is a short 5-item instrument designed to measure global cognitive judgments of satisfaction with one’s life. The scale usually requires only about one minute of a respondent’s time, where respondents answer on a Likert scale. It’s questions are open to interpretation, making this scale suitable for adults with a range of background.

Subjective well-being is conceptualised as consisting of two major components: the emotional or affective component and the judgment or cognitive component. The SWLS was designed to measure the judgment component. Diener, Emmons, Larsen and Griffith (1985) have conducted a series of validation studies showing that the SWLS has a single factor, high internal consistency, is reliable and is content appropriate for a wide range of groups. Convergent validity was established through high correlations with other well-being measures, including the Fordyce Scale and the Giunn Scale. Additionally, the SWLS has a low correlation (.09) with measures of affect intensity, showing that it is likely to be reliable over affective states.

Scores consist of a raw score (between 5 and 35). Higher scores represent higher life satisfaction. Scorers can be assigned into six well-being categories and interpretative text in provided for each.

– 30 – 35 Extremely satisfied
– 25 – 29 Satisfied
– 20 – 24 Slightly satisfied
– 15 – 19 Slightly dissatisfied
– 10 – 14 Dissatisfied

Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The Satisfaction with Life Scale.Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71-75.

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