Satisfaction With Life (SWL) Scale

Measures global cognitive judgments of the respondent’s life satisfaction.

Refer to the text below for more information about the original study.

The Satisfaction With Life Scale a patient reported outcome tool for rating degree of satisfaction with life. The scale consists of 5 straightforward statements that the subject evaluates on a Likert scale of 7 items (from Strongly agree to Strongly disagree).

Each of the 5 items that make up the SWL are rated on a scale from Strongly disagree (1) to Strongly agree (7) and then the points are added to generate the final score.

SWL Interpretation

■ 31 - 35 Extremely satisfied

■ 26 - 30 Satisfied

■ 21 - 25 Slightly satisfied

■ 20 Neutral

■ 15 - 19 Slightly dissatisfied

■ 10 - 14 Dissatisfied

■ 5 - 9 Extremely dissatisfied

1In most ways my life is close to my ideal.
2The conditions of my life are excellent.
3I am satisfied with my life.
4So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.
5If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.
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About the study

The scale was developed in 1985 by Diener et al. and has since been heavily used as a measure of the life satisfaction component of subjective well-being. The SWLS is a 7-point Likert style response scale, where the final results range from 5 to 35, with 20 being a neutral score.

Its results have been found to correlate with measures of mental health, and be predictive of future outcomes. In the area of health psychology, the SWLS has been used in the assessment of people experiencing serious health concerns.

The coefficient alpha for the scale has ranged from .79 to .89, indicating high internal consistency. The SWL has good test-retest correlations (.84, .80 over a month interval).

The statements are designed in such way that, although not specific to areas of life such as health or finance, to allow the respondent to integrate and weight their life areas in a way that suits them, when assessing each item.

The scale has shown good convergent validity with other scales and with other types of assessments of subjective well-being. The SWL has also shown discriminant validity from emotional well-being measures.

The SWL can be used in conjunction with other patient-reported scales that focus on psychopathology or emotional well-being.


Result interpretation

The SWL results range from 5 to 35, where the higher the score, the greater the degree of satisfaction with life reported by the subject.

■ 31 - 35 Extremely satisfied

■ 26 - 30 Satisfied

■ 21 - 25 Slightly satisfied

■ 20 Neutral

■ 15 - 19 Slightly dissatisfied

■ 10 - 14 Dissatisfied

■ 5 - 9 Extremely dissatisfied



Original reference

Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. The Satisfaction with Life Scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 1985; 49, 71-75.


Pavot, W. G., Diener, E., Colvin, C. R., & Sandvik, E. Further validation of the Satisfaction with Life Scale: Evidence for the cross-method convergence of well-being measures. Journal of Personality Assessment, 1991; 57, 149-161.

Other references

Pavot, W. G., & Diener, E. Review of the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Psychological Assessment. 1993; 5, 164-172.

Specialty: Psychiatry

System: Nervous

Objective: Assessment

Type: Patient Reported Scale

No. Of Items: 5

Year Of Study: 1985

Abbreviation: SWL

Article By: Denise Nedea

Published On: April 8, 2020 · 12:00 AM

Last Checked: April 8, 2020

Next Review: April 8, 2025