How is subjective well-being related to quality of life? Do we need two concepts and both measures?

S. M. Skevington, J. R. Böhnke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Subjective well-being (SWB) and subjective quality of life (QoL) are key concepts describing experience, capacities, states, behaviours, appraisals, and emotional reactions to circumstances. Used widely in public discourse, policy, and research, their theoretical and empirical relations remain little explored. The present research aimed to develop an integrated model of SWB and QoL through empirically testing its overlapping and exclusive dimensions. Survey data was obtained from N = 2533 in 11 countries. Adults completed the WHOQOL Spirituality, Religion and Personal Beliefs (SRPB) instrument which assesses 33 QoL facets in 6 domains. The facets operationalize components of the hedonic SWB model, extended with eudaimonia, as SWB+. Network analyses, and regression models with random effect for cultural centre, assessed the differential contributions of SWB+ and QoL in predicting general QoL, explanatory power, and model parsimony. When all SWB+ and QoL variables are assessed together, the final model explains more variance in general QoL than either of the competing models; also it shows the most parsimonious fit. This fully integrated model contains only positive feelings from SWB+, with 13 other QoL facets drawn from all six domains, when adjusted for health status and educational level. These findings provide the foundation for a new Life Quality and Well-being (LQW) model that awaits confirmation. The LQW model improves on existing models of SWB+ and QoL by better explaining general QoL than facets of either model on its own. The 14 selected facets potentially offer a new, single measure with considerable conceptual breadth, and international foundations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-30
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Early online date6 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Health
  • Model
  • Quality of life
  • Theory
  • Well-being


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