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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


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
Pages (from-to)560-576
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date22 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • alignment optimization method
  • cross-cultural differences
  • life satisfaction
  • measurement invaraince
  • measurement/statistics
  • multigroup confirmatory factor analysis (MG-CFA)
  • multilevel confirmatory factor analysis (ML-CFA)
  • multilevel multiple indicators multiple causes (ML-MIMIC)
  • satisfaction with life scale (SWLS)


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