Satisfaction with Life Scale (A guide)

This blog gives you details about the satisfaction with life scale.

As you can infer from the name, satisfaction with life scale measures the level of satisfaction of an individual with his life. 

It is a bit difficult to measure happiness in different fields of our lives especially when an individual is facing no problems in his life. 

Occasionally, unhappiness or dissatisfaction does come in our lives and at that time it is up to us whether we strive to find the reason behind that unhappiness or dissatisfaction or not.

There are numerous ways of finding reasons behind dissatisfaction but before that, it is essential to make sure if it is dissatisfaction that is causing a disturbance.

For this purpose, several tools have been constructed and satisfaction with life scale is just one of those scales.

This blog throws light on the satisfaction with life scale. 

What is Satisfaction with Life Scale? 

The satisfaction with life scale is a very brief self-report questionnaire that was developed by Pavot, W., and Diener, E in 1985.

This scale measures global cognitive judgments of satisfaction with an individual’s life.

This scale measures life satisfaction, which is the component of subjective well-being.

The scores of the items of satisfaction with life scale are found to have a correlation with questionnaires on mental health and are known to be predictive of future behaviors including suicide attempts.

Hence, this scale is used in the field of health psychology for measuring the score of subjective quality of life or individual’s with psychological illnesses.

Psychometric Properties of Satisfaction with Life Scale

The reliability of this scale was found to be very good having coefficient alpha values ranging from .79 to .89. 

The validity of this scale was also outstanding. Test-retest correlations values ranged from .84 to .80 over a month interval. 


The satisfaction with life scale consists of only 5 items which are measured on a 7 point Likert scale where 1 = strongly disagree and 7 = strongly agree.

The minimum and maximum scores for the satisfaction with life scale are 5 and 35 respectively and 20 is the neutral score.

Higher scores represent higher life satisfaction whereas lower scores indicate poor satisfaction with life.

The scores and interpretation of these scores are mentioned next:

Scores Interpretation 
5 to 9Extremely dissatisfied with life
10 – 14Dissatisfied with life
15 – 19Slightly dissatisfied with life 
21 – 25 Slightly satisfied  with life
26 – 30Satisfied  with life
31 – 35Extremely satisfied with life

Administration of Satisfaction with Life Scale

Satisfaction with life scale comprises 5 statements.

The participants have to read the statements and rate them for 1 to 7 depending upon how they feel about each statement.

This questionnaire would hardly take 5 minutes to be solved.

Once done, the participants have to sum up all the scores and consult the interpretation chart to identify what their scores say about their satisfaction with life.

The satisfaction with life scale can be downloaded from here

What Does the Questionnaire Measure Exactly?

The satisfaction with life scale measures the life satisfaction of an individual.

Life satisfaction is one component of subject well-being.

Researchers have found that there are a total of two components of subjective well-being, the emotional component, and the cognitive component (Diener, 1984 and Veenhoven, 1984).

The cognitive component of the subjective well-being carries life satisfaction (Andrews & Withey, 1976) and in spite of this, it has not sought the attention of the researchers.

In 1985, Diener et al stepped forward to research this construct and with that, they developed satisfaction with life scale, which measured the cognitive components of subjective well-being.

The satisfaction with life scale measures life satisfaction as a whole and not in different domains of life such as health, career, relationships etcetera.

In spite of this, this measure is regarded as the best tool for measuring overall satisfaction with life, emphasizing that digging deep into different domains of life may cause dissatisfaction. 

The following are some great books to read about well-being, quality of life and life satisfaction.

You can read these books to increase your knowledge about these constructs.

All of these books are easily accessible from the internet.

Just click the book you wish to study and you will be redirected to the page from where you can access it. 

What is the satisfaction with life scale?

The satisfaction with life scale is a brief questionnaire that was developed to measure life satisfaction, a component of subjective well-being, of an individual.

This scale measures life satisfaction as a whole and not in different domains of life such as health, career, relationships etcetera.

How do you score satisfaction with life scale?

The satisfaction with life scale is scored on a 7 point Likert scale where 1 = strongly disagree and 7 = strongly agree.

The scores of this scale range from 5 to 35, with higher scores indicating higher satisfaction with life and vice versa. 

Who created the life satisfaction survey?

The life satisfaction survey was created by Ed Diener and this measure is known to be the most commonly used and most popular questionnaire for measuring life satisfaction since the 1980s, the time when it was developed.

This scale comprises seven statements which are scored on 7 points Likert scale. 

Why is satisfaction important in life?

Satisfaction with life is very important.

This is because life satisfaction correlates with an individual’s physical health and a few long-term health conditions (Siahpush, Spittal, & Singh, 2008).

In addition to it, life satisfaction and happiness are found to be the predictors of self-rated health, physical health and the presence of a few long-term conditions.  

How can I get life satisfaction?

There are numerous ways in which life satisfaction can be increased.

Some ways to improve satisfaction with life include focusing on the positives, finding stress relievers, not being afraid to take time for yourself, taking responsibility for your own actions, being more empathetic, redefining relationships, and living the best life. 

Does life satisfaction increase with age?

Studies have shown that life satisfaction increases with age but only in some places.

Life satisfaction is found to decrease in middle age and it increases in older age in conditions such as high income and English-speaking countries.

New researches on aging have revealed that this is not a universal pattern.

This blog aimed to provide you information on satisfaction with life scale. The blog mentioned the uses, psychometric properties and scoring of this scale.

If you have any questions or queries regarding this blog, let us know through your comments. We will be glad to assist you. 



The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWL) | Measurement …

4 Scales to Measure Satisfaction with Life (SWLS)  Elaine Mead (2019) 

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