Cross-national adolescent multidimensional life satisfaction reports: Analyses of mean scores and response style differences

Rich Gilman*, E. Scott Huebner, Lili Tian, Nansook Park, Jenny O'Byrne, Miriam Schiff, Dina Sverko, Heather Langknecht

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)142-154
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Adolescent life satisfaction
  • Cross-national
  • Response style differences


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