Satisfaction with life is one of three hallmarks of subjective well-being, along with frequent positive emotions and infrequent negative emotions (Diener et al. in Psychol Bull 125:276-302, 1999), and the satisfaction with life scale (SWLS; Diener et al. in J Pers Assess 49:91-95, 1985) has been used worldwide to evaluate it. The current study seeks to (a) adapt and gather evidence of validity and reliability of the SWLS for a Brazilian sample, (b) evaluate gender equivalence on Brazilian university students, and (c) test for invariance between Brazilian and US samples. Participants were US (N = 241), and Brazilian (N = 1,388) undergraduates. Results from the Brazilian sample, based on confirmatory factor analyses and measurement invariance tests, showed: (a) evidence of validity of the scale, (b) scalar invariance across gender, (c) scalar invariance within group. However, nonequivalence between Brazil and US samples was found. Such results suggest that within comparisons can be conducted with Brazilian undergraduates, but comparisons between Brazil and the US might be misleading due to lack of invariance. Similar findings have already been reported in other cultures and raise questions about cross cultural studies with this scale.
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