Academic journal article Journal of Psychological and Educational Research

Romanian Adaptation of the Satisfaction with Life Scale

Academic journal article Journal of Psychological and Educational Research

Romanian Adaptation of the Satisfaction with Life Scale

Article excerpt

Theoretical Background

Throughout its history, clinical psychology has tended to define mental health as the absence of mental illness. More recently, well-being has become an important topic in understanding mental health (McNulty & Fincham, 2012; Schwarzer & Gutierrez-Dona, 2000). The study of well-being falls within the domain of positive psychology, specifically positive clinical psychology (McNulty & Fincham, 2012; Seligman & Peterson, 2003). The concept of well-being has clear ties to psychology (e.g., satisfaction with life), whereas a related concept, quality of life, reflects more objective conditions believed to impact the well-being of individuals and society as a whole (e.g., social belonging) (Schumacher, Klaiberg, & Brahler, 2003). The psychological study of well-being can be divided into two major areas: the hedonic view and the eudaimonic view (see Ryan & Deci, 2001 for a review). Both traditions in the study of well-being can be traced to ancient philosophy, with the hedonic view emphasizing a person's happiness and the eudaimonic view concerned with the optimal functioning of the individual (Ryan & Deci, 2001). Perhaps the best-known approach to the study of well-being from a hedonic framework centers on subjective well-being (e.g., Diener, 1984). Subjective well-being is usually defined as and measured with instruments that tap the dimensions of life satisfaction and both positive and negative affect (Andrews & Withey, 1976).

Development of the SWLS

The Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) was developed by Ed Diener and colleagues (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985). Although numerous scales of life satisfaction were in use at the time, they were characterized by several important limitations: they either consisted of a single item (Diener, 1984) or had been designed especially for geriatric populations (Lawton, 1975). Moreover, despite their stated goal, some of these scales did not exclusively measure satisfaction with life (e.g., the Life Satisfaction Index) (Neugarten, Havinghust, & Tobin, 1961). Therefore, the SWLS was developed as a multi-item scale to measure satisfaction with life as a cognitive-judgmental process, according to the definition given by Shin and Johnson (1978): the global way in which a person perceives quality of life according to his or her own subjective criteria.

Clinical and Non-clinical Uses of the SWLS

The measurement of satisfaction with life has considerable value in scientific research and applied practice. First, an important approach in determining general quality of life is to measure satisfaction with life as a cognitive-judgmental process (Diener, 1994; Veenhoven, 1996). Moreover, life satisfaction can serve as a key social indicator in the evaluation of social change (Baltatescu, 2006; Stevens, Constantinescu, & Butucescu, 2011). Apart from its scientific relevance, the measurement of life satisfaction has value for clinicians (Heisel & Flett, 2003; Patterson, Ptacek, Cromes, Fauerbach, & Engrav, 2000). For example, using the SWLS as an index of well-being and mental health, clinical and quasi-clinical samples report less life satisfaction than do non-clinical groups (Pavot & Diener, 1993). The SWLS can also be administered by clinicians to ascertain a client`s level of well-being at intake and to track therapeutic progress; Friedman (as cited in Pavot & Diener, 1993) found substantial improvement in clients' life satisfaction after 1 month of psychotherapy (M = 14.1 at onset, M = 26.9 at 1 month).

The SWLS has been adapted for use in various countries, with normative data available for diverse adult and student samples, medical inpatients and outpatients, prison inmates, abused women, and psychotherapy clients (Pavot & Diener, 1993). Notwithstanding the potential scientific and practical promise of the SWLS, Romanian scholars and clinicians at present do not have an well-established adapted instrument that they can use in the measurement of satisfaction with life. …

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