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Assessing Well-being in Everyday Life: Developing the Scale for Ecological Momentary Assessment of Life Satisfaction

Former IDA student Manuel Tobias Rein wrote his Master thesis under the co-supervision of Maria Bolsinova and Leonie Vogelsmeier and presented the topic at the graduation ceremony on September 24, 2022.

Life satisfaction, the reflective process of comparing one’s life situation with one’s standards, has traditionally been assessed as a trait using retrospective questionnaires. The goal of the current study was to provide a measure to assess momentary satisfaction (i.e., life satisfaction as a state), which we defined as a person’s subjective, cognitive judgement of their current circumstances with respect to their personal standards. After designing ten items to measure this construct, we collected data from 67 participants (MAge = 25.31, SDAge = 7.52) using an ecological momentary assessment design with six measurements per day across two weeks (4078 total observations). All possible combinations of four to ten items were analyzed with respect to proportion of between-person variance, variability of responses within persons, within- and between-person reliability, and convergent validity. The final scale comprises five items and performed very well on all criteria. We also examined the stability of the scale’s measurement model using latent Markov factor analysis. Results indicate that participants inhabited two states that differed substantively in item intercepts and factor loadings. As participants occasionally switched between states, longitudinal measurement invariance was violated. In sum, we present the Scale for Ecological Momentary Assessment of Life Satisfaction (ELISA) as a reliable measure of momentary satisfaction that captures variance between and within individuals. The new scale has been developed specifically for use in ecological momentary assessment studies. Future research should validate the scale in more samples and further examine its factor structure and the longitudinal stability of the measurement model.

Keywords: Ecological Momentary Assessment; Experience Sampling Method; Scale Development; Life Satisfaction; Longitudinal Measurement Invariance

Manuel is currently continuing his academic path as a PhD candidate at Tilburg University. If you are interested in the project of his Master’s thesis, please follow this link:

Congratulations, Manuel! We wish you the best of luck with your PhD!

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