Multidimensional Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale:
Introduction and Rationale
I enjoy being at home with my family.
My family gets along well together.
I like spending time with my parents.
My parents and I doing fun things together.
My family is better than most.
Members of my family talk nicely to one another.
My parents treat me fairly.
My friends treat me well.
My friends are nice to me.
I wish I had different friends.*
My friends are mean to me.*
My friends are great
I have a bad time with my friends.*
I have a lot of fun with my friends.
I have enough friends.
My friends will help me if I need it.
I look forward to going to school.
I like being in school.
School is interesting.
I wish I didn’t have to go to school.*
There are many things about school I don’t like.*
I enjoy school activities.
I learn a lot at school.
I feel bad at school.*
I like where I live.
I wish there were different people in my neighborhood.*
I wish I lived in a different house.*
I wish I lived somewhere else.*
I like my neighborhood.
I like my neighbors.
This town is filled with mean people.*
My family’s house is nice.
There are lots of fun things to do where I live.
I think I am good looking.
I am fun to be around.
I am a nice person.
Most people like me.
There are lots of things I can do well.
I like to try new things.
I like myself.
*reverse keyed items
Administration and Scoring
The 40-item MSLSS may be administered to children in groups as well as individually. The instructions for the scale are provided prior to the rest of the scale‚ with younger children‚ (grades 3-5)‚ it is recommended that the examiner read the directions aloud to the students and encourage them to ask questions as necessary. With all students‚ it is essential to monitor their responses to ensure that they respond appropriately (e.g.‚ answer all questions‚ non-random and non-biased responding). The readability of the scale is at the 1.5 grade level‚ so most students require little or no assistance in responding to the questions.
Scoring is straightforward. The four response options are assigned points as follows: (never = 1); (sometimes = 2); (often = 3); and (almost always = 4). Negatively-keyed items must be reverse scored (see pp. 3-4 for the list of negatively-keyed items). Hence‚ negatively-keyed items are scored so that almost always = 1‚ and so forth. Higher scores thus indicate higher levels of life satisfaction throughout the scale.
It should be noted that a 6-point agreement format has been used with middle and high school students (Huebner et al.‚ 1998). In this case‚ response options are assigned points as follows: (1 = strongly disagree‚ 2 = moderately disagree‚ etc.).
Because the domains consist of unequal number of items‚ the domain and total scores are made comparable by summing the item responses and dividing by the number of domain (or total) items.
Normative data obtained to date are available for elementary (grades 3-5) (Huebner‚ 1994)‚ middle (Huebner et al.‚ 1998)‚ and high school students (Gilman et al.‚ 2000; Greenspoon & Saklofske‚ 2997; Huebner‚ 1994; Huebner‚ Laughlin‚ Ash‚ & Gilman‚ 1997).
Internal consistency (alpha) coefficients have been reported in various publications (Dew‚ 1996; Greenspoon & Saklofske‚ 1997; Huebner‚ 1994; Huebner‚ Laughlin‚ Ash‚ & Gilman‚ 1997). The findings suggest that the reliabilities all range from .70s to low .90s; thus they are acceptable for research purposes. Test-retest coefficients for two- and four-week time periods have also been reported (Dew‚ 1996; Huebner et al.‚ 1997; Huebner & Terry‚ 1995) falling mostly in the .70 – .90 range‚ providing further support for the reliability of the scale.
The results of exploratory factor analyses have supported the dimensionality of the MSLSS (Huebner‚ 1994). Confirmatory factor analyses have provided further support or the multidimensional‚ hierarchical model consisting of a general life satisfaction higher-order factor at the apex of the hierarchy along with five specific domains below (Gilman et al.‚ 2000; Huebner et al.‚ 1998). Findings have generalized to school age students in Canada (Greenspoon & Saklofske‚ 1997) Korea (Park‚ 2000)‚ and Spain (Casas et al.‚ 2000).
Convergent and discriminant validity have also been demonstrated through predicted correlations with other self-report well-being indexes (Dew et al.‚ 2001; Gilman et al.‚ 2000; Greenspoon & Saklofske‚ 1997; Huebner‚ 1994; Huebner et al.‚ 1998)‚ parent reports (Dew et al.‚ 2001; Gilman & Huebner‚ 1997)‚ teacher reports (Huebner & Alderman‚ 1993)‚ and social desirability scales (Huebner et al.‚ 1998). Findings of weak relationships with demographic variables (e.g.‚ age‚ gender) also fit with theoretical expectations (Huebner‚ 1994; Huebner et al.‚ 1998).
Nevertheless‚ additional validation research is needed to clarify the precise boundaries of the life satisfaction construct as well as the range of applications for particular children. For example‚ Ash and Huebner (1998) and Griffin and Huebner (2000) reported on unique aspects of the validity and usefulness of the MSLSS in the assessment of the well-being of two groups of exceptional children (i.e.‚ academically gifted and emotionally disordered middle school students). Studies of the usefulness of the MSLSS and other life satisfaction scales with other groups of children (e.g.‚ children with mental disabilities‚ ADHD) would be illuminating as well.
Permission to Use
The MSLSS is in the public domain. Researchers may use it without permission. The author welcomes any feedback regarding its usefulness.
Scott Huebner‚ Ph.D.
University of South Carolina
Department of Psychology
Columbia‚ SC 29208