The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWL)

Author of Tool: 

Pavot, W., & Diener, E.

Key references: 

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

Pavot, W. G., 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.

Pavot, W., & Diener, E. (1993). Review of the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Psychological Assessment, 5, 164-172.

Pavot, W., & Diener, E. (2008). The Satisfaction With Life Scale and the emerging construct of life satisfaction. ournal of Positive Psychology, 3, 137–152

Primary use / Purpose: 

The SWLS is a short 5-item instrument designed to measure global cognitive judgments of satisfaction with one's life.

Background: 

The Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) has been used heavily as a measure of the life satisfaction component of subjective well-being. Scores on the SWLS have been shown to correlate with measures of mental health, and be predictive of future behaviours such as suicide attempts. In the area of health psychology, the SWLS has been used to measure the subjective quality of life of people experiencing serious health concerns.

Psychometrics: 

The SWLS is a 7-point Likert style response scale. The possible range of scores is 5-35, with a score of 20 representing a neutral point on the scale. Scores between 5-9 indicate the respondent is extremely dissatisfied with life, whereas scores between 31-35 indicate the respondent is extremely satisfied. The coefficient alpha for the scale has ranged from .79 to .89, indicating that the scale has high internal consistency. The scale was also found to have good test-retest correlations (.84, .80 over a month interval). For a detailed psychometric description of the SWLS see: Pavot, W., & Diener, E. (2008). The Satisfaction With Life Scale and the emerging construct of life satisfaction. ournal of Positive Psychology, 3, 137–152.

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