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Measurement invariance of the Satisfaction With Life Scale across 26 countries
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
  • Seulki JANG, University of South Florida
  • Eun Sook KIM, University of South Florida
  • Chunhua CAO, University of South Florida
  • Tammy D. ALLEN, University of South Florida
  • Cary L. COOPER, Lancaster University
  • Laurent M. LAPIERRE, University of Ottawa
  • Michael P. O’DRISCOLL, University of Waikato
  • Juan I. SANCHEZ, Florida International University
  • Paul E. SPECTOR, University of South Florida
  • Steven A. Y. POELMANS, EADA Business School
  • Nureya ABARCA, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
  • Matilda ALEXANDROVA, University of National and World Economy
  • Alexandros-Stamatios ANTONIOU, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
  • Barbara BEHAM, Berlin School of Economics and Law
  • Paula BROUGH, Griffith University
  • Ilker CARIKCI, Suleyman Demirel University
  • Pablo FERREIRO, Universidad de Piura
  • Guillermo FRAILE, Austral University
  • Sabine GEURTS, Radboud University
  • Ulla KINNUNEN, University of Tampere
  • Chang-qin LU, Peking University
  • Luo LU, National Taiwan University
  • Ivonne F MORENO-VELÁZQUEZ, University of Puerto Rico
  • Milan PAGON, Independent University
  • Horea PITARIU, Babes-Bolyai University
  • Volodymyr SALAMATOV, National Academy of Public Administration
  • Oi Ling SIU, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
  • Satoru SHIMA, Kyoto Bunkyo University
  • Marion K. SCHULMEYER, 5Private University of Santa Cruz of the Sierra
  • Kati TILLEMANN, Estonian Business School
  • Maria WIDERSZAL-BAZYL, Central Institute for Labor Protection
  • Jong-Min WOO, Inje University
Document Type
Journal article
Publication Date
Sage Publications, Inc.
  • life satisfaction,
  • satisfaction with life scale (SWLS),
  • measurement invaraince,
  • multigroup confirmatory factor analysis (MG-CFA),
  • multilevel confirmatory factor analysis (ML-CFA),
  • alignment optimization method,
  • multilevel multiple indicators multiple causes (ML-MIMIC),
  • measurement/statistics,
  • cross-cultural differences

The Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) is a commonly used life satisfaction scale. Cross-cultural researchers use SWLS to compare mean scores of life satisfaction across countries. Despite the wide use of SWLS in cross-cultural studies, measurement invariance of SWLS has rarely been investigated, and previous studies showed inconsistent findings. Therefore, we examined the measurement invariance of SWLS with samples collected from 26 countries. To test measurement invariance, we utilized three measurement invariance techniques: (a) multigroup confirmatory factor analysis (MG-CFA), (b) multilevel confirmatory factor analysis (ML-CFA), and (c) alignment optimization methods. The three methods demonstrated that configural and metric invariances of life satisfaction held across 26 countries, whereas scalar invariance did not. With partial invariance testing, we identified that the intercepts of Items 2, 4, and 5 were noninvariant. Based on two invariant intercepts, factor means of countries were compared. Chile showed the highest factor mean; Spain and Bulgaria showed the lowest. The findings enhance our understanding of life satisfaction across countries, and they provide researchers and practitioners with practical guidance on how to conduct measurement invariance testing across countries.

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Citation Information
Jang, S., Kim, E. S., Cao, C., Allen, T. D., Cooper, C. L., Lapierre, L. M., … Woo, J.-M. (2017). Measurement invariance of the Satisfaction With Life Scale across 26 countries. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 48(4), 560-576. doi: 10.1177/0022022117697844