A Cross-National Analysis of Measurement Invariance of the Satisfaction With Life Scale

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Abstract

Measurement invariance of the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) was examined in probability samples of adults 50–79 years of age living in the United States, England, and Japan. Confirmatory factor analysis modeling was used to test for multigroup measurement invariance of a single-factor structure of the SWLS. Results support a single-factor structure of the SWLS across the 3 countries, with tests of measurement invariance of the SWLS supporting its configural invariance and metric invariance. These results suggest that the SWLS may be used as a single-factor measure of life satisfaction in the United States, England, and Japan, and that it is appropriate to compare correlates of the SWLS in middle-aged and older adults across these 3 countries. However, results provided evidence for only partial scalar invariance, with the intercept for SWLS Item 4 varying across countries. Cross-national comparisons of means revealed a lower mean at the latent variable level for the Japanese sample than for the other 2 samples. In addition, over and above the latent mean difference, the Japanese sample also manifested a significantly lower intercept on Item 4. Implications of the findings for research on cross-national comparisons of life satisfaction in European American and East Asian countries are discussed.

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