Preliminary validation of the bri...
JULIE L. SELIGSON, E. SCOTT HUEBNER and ROBERT F. VALOIS PRELIMINARY VALIDATION OF THE BRIEF MULTIDIMENSIONAL STUDENTS��� LIFE SATISFACTION SCALE (BMSLSS) (Accepted 17 April, 2002) ABSTRACT. Two studies investigated the psychometric properties of the Brief Multidimensional Students��� Life Satisfaction Scale (MSLSS: Huebner, 1994). In Study 1, 221 middle school students completed the Brief Multidimensional Students��� Life Satisfaction Scale (BMSLSS), Multidimensional Students��� Life Satisfaction Scale, Students��� Life Satisfaction Scale (SLSS: Huebner, 1991a), Positive and Negative Affect Schedule-Children���s Version (Laurent et al., 1999), Children���s Social Desirability Scale (Crandall et al., 1965), and a one-item global life satisfaction rating (GLLS). Students also rated the importance of the BMSLSS five life satisfaction domains (Family, Friends, School, Self, Living Environment). The results revealed acceptable internal consistency reliability, criterion-related validity, and construct validity for the BMSLSS Total score for research purposes. Furthermore, evidence of convergent and discriminant validity for the BMSLSS domain scores was also obtained through multitrait-multimethod analyses. Finally, the results failed to provide strong support for the usefulness of impor- tance scores in predicting overall life satisfaction unweighted BMSLSS scores were highly related to global life satisfaction (GLLS) scores. In Study 2, 46 high school students completed the BMSLSS and MSLSS to test the generaliza- bility of the convergent and discriminant validity findings with older adolescents. The findings revealed stronger evidence of validity with this age group. Overall, the findings offered preliminary support for the reliability and validity of the BMSLSS, suggesting that it can serve as a useful alternative to the longer MSLSS in studies with adolescents in which brevity is an important consideration. Theorists from a variety of orientations have shown an increasing interest in expanding the criteria for mental and physical health to include perceived quality of life (QOL) in addition to the absence of physical or psychiatric illness (Cowen, 1991 Kazdin, 1993 Raphael et al., 1996 Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Comprehensive evaluations of individual���s well-being thus are expected to incor- porate positive indicators of well-being along with the traditional negative indicators (e.g., symptoms, risk behaviors). From such a Social Indicators Research 61: 121���145, 2003. �� 2003 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
122 JULIE L. SELIGSON perspective, those professionals who are interested in promoting the health of individuals must consider assessing changes in positive indicators, such as QOL, as crucial as assessing changes in negative indicators (Frisch, 2000). Perceived QOL, or life satisfaction, has been defined ���as a global evaluation by the person of the quality of his or her life��� (Pavot, Diener, Colvin and Sandvik, 1991, p. 150). Life satisfaction reports have been studied with respect to evaluations of overall life and/or specific life domains (e.g., family, school). Perceived QOL reports encompass the complete spectrum of subjective well-being, ranging from very negative (e.g., ���terrible���) to neutral to very positive (e.g., ���delighted���) thus they offer the possibility of reflecting high levels of wellness as well as disturbances in adaptive functioning. Although QOL reports relate to a variety of psychological and health disorders (see Frisch, 2000), they are also discriminable from disorders. For example, QOL reports have been differentiated from depression (Lewinsohn, Redner and Seeley, 1991 Headey, Kelly and Wearing, 1993), anxiety (Huebner, 1991b Huebner et al., 2000), and self-esteem (Huebner, Gilman and Laughlin, 1999 Lucas et al., 1996). Thus, researchers have demonstrated the incre- mental contribution of QOL judgments to multidimensional models of well-being. Raphael et al. (1996) have identified four benefits of a QOL perspective for health promotion efforts. First, they suggest that QOL approaches integrate psychological and sociological perspec- tives with medical and rehabilitation perspectives. Second, they argue that QOL approaches highlight multiple determinants of health, including personal, community, and structural determinants. Third, QOL perspectives can be related to health promotion and rehabilitation perspectives, suggesting health promoting conditions and behaviors. Fourth, QOL measures may offer a sensitive means to assess the effects of illness, disability, and associated interven- tions and treatments. Despite the increased attention to QOL of adults, little research attention has been devoted to QOL in children and youth. System- atic research related to the determinants, correlates, and sequelae of individual differences in perceived QOL reports of children and adolescents has been hampered by the lack of developmentally
BMSLSS 123 appropriate, well-validated measures. To date, few life satisfaction measures suitable for children and/or adolescents exist. Notable exceptions include The Quality of Life Profile-Adolescent Version (Raphael et al., 1996), the Comprehensive Quality of Life Scale (Gullone and Cummins, 1999), Multidimensional Students��� Life Satisfaction Scale (Huebner, 1994 Huebner et al., 1998), Students��� Life Satisfaction Scale (Huebner, 1991a), and Perceived Life Satis- faction Scale (Adelman et al., 1989). It should be noted that of the five measures, four of the measures appear to be designed to provide only a summary score of general or global life satisfac- tion. In contrast, the Multidimensional Students��� Life Satisfaction Scale is designed to provide a general life satisfaction score along with scores on five domains (Family, Friends, School, Self, Living Environment). Although the preliminary findings with all of these measures are promising for research purposes, additional validation work needs to be done with each of them to enhance confidence in their validity (see Gilman and Huebner, 2000, for a review). One major shortcoming of the current array of available QOL measures for children and adolescents relates to the lack of a brief multidimensional measure suitable for use in large-scale studies. Numerous national and cross-national surveys and studies of QOL of adults have been undertaken, yielding considerable theoretical and practical information (e.g., Andrews and Withey, 1976 Diener and Diener, 1996 Headey and Wearing, 1989). Such research is prohibited by the lack of brief child-focused measures of QOL. Additionally, brief multidimensional measures would similarly be useful in ���longitudinal studies, experience sampling studies, and other research contexts in which time constraints limit the number of items that can be administered��� (Robins et al., 2001, p. 151). The benefits of the development of a brief QOL measure, which is standardized and validated for use with children and adolescents, would thus be manifold. The major purpose of the research reported herein was to develop a brief, multidimensional QOL measure suitable for adolescents. The new self-report measure, the Brief Multidimensional Students��� Life Satisfaction Scale (BMSLSS) was based upon the conceptual model underlying the aforementioned 40-item Multidimensional Students��� Life Satisfaction Scale (Huebner, 1994 Huebner et al.,
124 JULIE L. SELIGSON 1998). The particular aims of Study 1 were to examine: (a) internal consistency reliability of the BMSLSS (b) convergent and discrimi- nant validity of the BMSLSS total and domain scores vis-��-vis the MSLSS (c) comparability of the BMSLSS and MSLSS with respect to criterion-related validity (i.e., relationships with other subjective well-being indices) and (d) comparability of the BMSLSS and MSLSS with respect to relationships with demographic variables. Also, this study sought to investigate the importance of impor- tance ratings in QOL measures of adolescents. Some researchers have suggested that the link between global and domain-specific evaluations is a function of the importance that individuals place on each domain (Cummins, 1997 Frisch, 1998 Raphael et al., 1996). For example, it is assumed that global life satisfaction will be influenced more by domains that are of greater importance to a particular individual. Thus, for one person, peer experiences may be very important while family experiences are relatively unimpor- tant thus the quality of peer experiences should contribute more to this individual���s global life satisfaction. For another person, the importance of family experiences may be much greater than peer experiences thus the family experiences should contribute more to this individual���s global life satisfaction. Based on this assumption, the use of individual importance ratings, combined with satisfaction level ratings, should enhance the accuracy of predictions of global life satisfaction. Thus, these researchers have constructed measures that require youth to provide an importance rating for each domain as well as a satisfaction level rating so that a weighted aggregate score for global life satisfaction can be derived. Although measures based on such models appear more sophisti- cated, the incremental validity of importance ratings of children and youth has not been subjected to empirical scrutiny thus the utility of importance ratings has yet to be shown. Research with adults has been conducted, however, research has failed to demonstrate the superiority of weighted models over unweighted, additive models (Andrews and Robinson, 1991 Headey, 1981). In order to demon- strate the usefulness of combined importance-satisfaction level measures with children and youth, researchers need to directly test individually weighted models against unweighted models. Similar issues have been discussed with respect to the relationships between
BMSLSS 125 self-concept facets and global self-esteem (Harter, 1999 Marsh, 1986 Marsh and Hattie, 1996). Marsh and Hattie argue that the most appropriate test of the individually weighted approach is a test of Domain �� Importance interactions in a multiple regression model, that is, the interaction terms (individually weighted model) must add significant variance over and above that of the aggregate (block) of domain level scores alone. Thus, in this manner, this study sought to examine the relative advantage of the individually weighted approach using importance ratings to weight scores. STUDY 1 Method Participants Participants were 221 regular education students who attended a middle school in a small city in a southeastern state in the USA. A total of 40% of the students in this convenience sample were in 6th grade, 40% were in 7th grade, and 19% were in 8th grade. Their mean age was 12.33 (SD = 0.97) years. Males comprised fifty-eight percent of the sample. The sample consisted of 92 African-Americans, 111 Caucasians, and 18 classified as ���others.��� Thirty-seven percent of the students were in the low SES group. Although not representative of the U.S. population with respect to ethnicity and SES, this sample was representative of the school district. Measures Positive and Negative Affect Schedule-Children (PANAS-C: Laurent et al., 1999). The PANAS-C is composed of two subscales: one that measures positive affect and one that measures negative affect. The Positive Affect Scale has 12 items and the Negative Affect Scale has 15 items. Items are rated on a 5-point scale with responses ranging from not at all to extremely. Items on the negative affect subscale include distressed, upset, hostile, irritable, scared, jittery, afraid, ashamed, guilty, and nervous. Items on the positive affect subscale include interested, excited, strong, enthusiastic, proud, alert, inspired, determined, attentive, and active.