The Validity and Utility of Global Measures of Subjective Well-Being
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Research interest in topics such as happiness, the quality of life, and the experience of well-being has dramatically increased in the past four decades. Global measures of Subjective Well-Being (SWB) have long held a prominent position in this burgeoning body of research (Diener, 1984; Pavot, 2008). Despite their widespread acceptance and use, the validity and utility of global measures of SWB have been challenged at several levels of analysis. These critiques have ranged from the conceptual basis of SWB (e.g. Ryan & Deci 2001; Ryff, 1989; Ryff & Singer, 2008) to very specifi c concerns about the context of the assessment situation and the cognitive processes involved in formulating a response to such measures (Pavot & Diener, 1993a; Schimmack & Oishi, 2005; Schwarz, & Strack, 1999). The purpose of this paper is to review and address some of the more prominent critiques of global measures of SWB, and to discuss methodological procedures and strategies for minimizing threats to the validity and increasing the utility of global measures of SWB.
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