A Factorial Analysis of School-Related Subjective Well-Being Among A Sample of Adolescents

Rachel Freeman Long, University of South Carolina


The tripartite theory of subjective well-being (SWB) suggests that well-being in adults is a multidimensional construct comprised of three components: (1) the presence of PA; (2) the relative lack of NA; and (3) people's cognitive evaluations of their life circumstances (Diener et al., 1997). The literature suggests that a similar multidimensional construct of well-being also exists for children and adolescents (Huebner & Dew, 1996). In light of the large amount of time that children and adolescents spend in school, it seems reasonable to suggest the presence of a school-based SWB construct which might parallel multidimensional SWB in adults. As such, this study sought to employ a multidimensional, contextualized approach to the analysis of school-related SWB. Confirmatory factor analysis was conducted to analyze the factorial validity of three and four-part models of school-related SWB in a sample of 921 adolescents. In addition, the invariance of the structure was examined across gender. Results indicated that a four-factor model comprised of positive affect, negative affect, fear and school satisfaction best described the structure of school-related SWB in the current sample. Results also found the structural model of the school-based SWB construct to be invariant across gender suggesting that the construct is comprised of the same factors for both males and females. Overall, these results suggest that school-related SWB in adolescents does not parallel global SWB in adults; different mechanisms may underlie school-related SWB judgments in adolescents. This points to the possible benefits of a contextualized approach to SWB, which takes into account the specific environments in which adolescents live.