Life satisfaction across adulthood: Different determinants at different ages?

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Satisfaction With Life Scale; subjective well-being; aging; invariance; structural equation modeling


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


It is likely that with aging and changing life circumstances, individuals’ values shift in systematic ways, and that these shifts may be accompanied by shifts in the determinants of their subjective judgments of well being. To examine this possibility, the relations among the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) and a number of personality, affect, demographic, and cognitive variables were examined in a sample of 818 participants between the ages of 18 and 94. The results indicated that although many variables had significant zero-order correlations with the SWLS, only a few variables had unique utility in predicting life satisfaction. Invariance analyses indicated that while the qualitative nature of life satisfaction remains constant across adult age, the influence of fluid intelligence on judgments of life satisfaction declines with age. In contrast, negative affect is negatively associated with life satisfaction consistently across the adult age span.

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