Original Research

Assessing the cognitive component of subjective well-being: Revisiting the satisfaction with life scale with classical test theory and item response theory

Tyrone B. Pretorius, Anita Padmanabhanunni
African Journal of Psychological Assessment | Vol 4 | a106 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajopa.v4i0.106 | © 2022 Tyrone B. Pretorius, Anita Padmanabhanunni | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 February 2022 | Published: 19 July 2022

About the author(s)

Tyrone B. Pretorius, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Anita Padmanabhanunni, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Life satisfaction is generally regarded as the cognitive component of subjective well-being, as opposed to positive and negative affect, which are regarded as the affective components. This topic has been extensively studied worldwide and has been linked to a variety of outcomes related to the work context as well as psychological well-being. In this study, we examine the psychometric properties of the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), one of the most widely used measures of life satisfaction, using three different approaches: classical test theory, Rasch analysis and Mokken analysis. Combining these three approaches provides a more comprehensive validation of an instrument. In this study, schoolteachers (n = 355) completed the SWLS, the trait scale of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, the Beck Hopelessness Scale and the University of California, Los Angeles Loneliness Scale. The three approaches confirmed the reliability, validity and unidimensional nature of the SWLS, thus supporting its continued use as a measure of life satisfaction in the South African context.


Keywords

Mokken analysis; Rasch analysis; classical test theory; satisfaction with life scale; reliability; validity

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