Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS, Deiner Scale)

The SWLS was designed to address the concept of life satisfaction as a whole rather than to assess satisfaction with sub-dimensions of life (Diener et al. 1985).  Conceptually, the SWLS measures the ‘discrepancy or balance’ between one’s life achievements and expectations.

Number of items: 5

Procedure/Administration: Participants respond to the items of the SWLS on a 7-point Likert scale, ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (7).

How scored: A global score (5 – 35) is computed by summing the scores of each question. No reports have been presented wherein the scores of a single question were used.

Interpretability: Scores represent a global perspective of life satisfaction. Norms/profiles are available for a SCI population, other disability populations, and non-disabled populations. 

Acceptability: The items on the questionnaire present no potential discomforts.

Languages: It is available in multiple foreign languages.

Usability: No equipment or specific training is required to administer the SWLS. 

Time to administer: The SWLS can be completed in less than 5 minutes.

Time to score: ~1 minute.

Training required: None

Availability: An online pdf version of the SWLS can be obtained from

Equipment required: None

Summary: The SWLS is generic, in that it holds no bias due to particular disability (e.g. SCI). It has adequate psychometric properties across various populations and scores can be compared between these populations.

 Psychometric Summary:








IC: Green light

TR: Yellow light

Construct: Yellow light

Concurrent: Green light



Note: TR= Test re-test; IC= Internal Consistency;Inter-O=Inter-observer; Intra-O=Intra-observer; SS=Sensitivity/Specificity; N/a= No information.

Red light= A single study involving SCI subjects which has less than adequate findings of reliability, validity, and/or responsiveness.

Yellow light= A single study involving subjects with SCI which has adequate to excellent findings of reliability, validity, and/or responsiveness.

Green light= At least 2 studies involving subjects with SCI which have adequate to excellent findings of reliability, validity, and/or responsiveness.


  • Diener E, Emmons RA, Larsen RJ, Griffin S. The Satisfaction With Life Scale. J Pers Assess 1985 ;49:71-75.
  • Dijkers MPJM. Correlates of Life Satisfaction Among Persons With Spinal Cord Injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 1999;80:867-876.
  • Pavot W, Diener E. Review of the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Psychol Assess 1993;5:164-172.