Measurement Invariance of the Satisfaction With Life Scale Across 26 Countries
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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.
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
© 2017 The Author(s). This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Social and Community Psychology