Measurement Invariance of the Satisfaction With Life Scale Across 26 Countries

Seulki Jang, Eun Sook Kim, Chunhua Cao, Tammy D. Allen, Cary L. Cooper, Laurent M. Lapierre, Michael P. O’Driscoll, Juan I. Sanchez, Paul E. Spector, Steven A.Y. Poelmans, Nureya Abarca, Matilda Alexandrova, Alexandros Stamatios Antoniou, Barbara Beham, Paula Brough, Ilker Carikci, Pablo Ferreiro, Guillermo Fraile, Sabine Geurts, Ulla KinnunenChang Qin Lu, Luo Lu, Ivonne F. Moreno-Velázquez, Milan Pagon, Horea Pitariu, Volodymyr Salamatov, Oi Ling Siu, Satoru Shima, Marion K. Schulmeyer, Kati Tillemann, Maria Widerszal-Bazyl, Jong Min Woo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)560-576
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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