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01-02-2008 | Original Article | Uitgave 2/2008

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2/2008

Cross-National Adolescent Multidimensional Life Satisfaction Reports: Analyses of Mean Scores and Response Style Differences

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 2/2008
Rich Gilman, E. Scott Huebner, Lili Tian, Nansook Park, Jenny O’Byrne, Miriam Schiff, Dina Sverko, Heather Langknecht
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Rich Gilman is Associate Professor in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology at the University of Kentucky. His research interests include positive well-being among youth, perfectionism, and socially ostracized adolescents.
Scott Huebner is Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of South Carolina. His research interests involve the conceptualization, measurement, and implications of positive psychological well-being constructs among youth. He is a fellow of Division 16 of the APA and the International Society for Quality of Life Studies.
Lili Tian is Associate Professor at South China Normal University. She received her Ph.D. in psychology from Beijing Normal University. Her major research interests include adolescent's school well-being, acculturation of immigrant children and personality assessment.
Nansook Park is Associate Professor at the University of Rhode Island. She received her Ph.D. from University of South Carolina. Her major research interests among youth include character strengths and virtues, positive experience and life satisfaction and how they are related to well-being, family functioning, health and education.
Jenny O’Byrne received her BA in the Department of Counselling & Psychotherapy from the Dublin Business School. Recent research interests focus on child and adolescent development, and she recently completed her pre-clinical training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy with the Lincoln Centre in London.
Dina Sverko is a research assistant at the University of Zagreb (Croatia). She received her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Triest (Italy). Her major research interests include personality assessment and health psychology.
Miriam Schiff is lecturer (equivalent to Assistant Professor) at the Hebrew University School of Social Work and Social Welfare in Jerusalem. Her major research interests include trauma and substance use, and general mental health among adolescents in clinic settings.
Heather Langknecht received her Ed.S. from the University of Kentucky in 2004. She currently works as a school psychologist at Virginia Beach Public Schools (Virginia). Her primary research interests are cross-national quality of life issues among children and youth.


Although numerous cross-national studies have assessed life satisfaction among adults, similar studies using adolescent samples have been rare. To address this shortage of research, a total of 1338 youth adolescents from two individualistic nations (Ireland, USA) and two collectivistic nations (China, South Korea) were administered the Multidimensional Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale (MSLSS: Huebner, 1994) to assesses general life satisfaction and satisfaction with family, friends, school, self, and living environment. Responses were analyzed to assess potential cross-national differences in (a) mean levels of life satisfaction, and (b) response styles, specifically acquiescence and extreme responding. Mean scores revealed positive ratings by adolescents from all four nations across all domains, with the exceptions of satisfaction with school experiences (Ireland, South Korean, USA), living environment (China, South Korea), self (South Korea), and general life satisfaction (South Korea). Results also revealed significant response style differences across all MSLSS domains. Significant gender and gender-by-nation effects were observed for both mean score and response style differences, although the effect sizes were small. The implications of these findings were discussed, particularly with respect to “individualistic” vs. “collectivistic” cultural differences.

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