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Factorial validity and invariance of the Life Satisfaction Index in older people across groups and time: Addressing the heterogeneity of age, functional ability, and depression

Journal article
Authors C. Fagerstrom
Magnus Lindwall
Anne Ingeborg Berg
M. Rennemark
Published in Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Volume 55
Issue 2
Pages 349-56
ISSN 1872-6976
Publication year 2012
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 349-56
Language en
Subject categories Statistics, Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology, Psychology


In the last decades, extensive research efforts have been directed at exploring life satisfaction in old age, and the Life Satisfaction Index A (LSIA) scale, developed by Neugarten et al. in the 1960s, is one of the most commonly used instruments. However, studies have focused on predicting and comparing changes in people's life satisfaction without testing if the LSIA instrument is equally valid for different subgroups of people. The present study investigated the underlying dimensions of the LSIA in a Swedish population (n=1402) of people 60-96 years of age. The study also examined factorial invariance across age, gender, functional ability and depression during a six-year period. The results showed that while a five-factor solution of the LSIA did not exhibit an acceptable fit to the data, a three-factor solution did show a close fit. The two three-factor models that demonstrated the best fit showed invariance across gender and across time, but noninvariance across groups with different levels of reduced functional ability, depressive symptoms and age. These findings suggest that the psychometric properties of life satisfaction instruments like the LSIA need to be taken into consideration before drawing conclusions about life satisfaction when comparing older people of different ages and with different depression and function levels.

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