Survey Measures of Subjective Well-being: Age, Appraisal, and Cognition Effects

As policy makers search for indices to complement existing population-based economic markers, interest has revived in ways to assess how people think and feel about their life circumstances. In this context, researchers are reconsidering the information gained from traditional global (or evaluative) measures of well-being such as life and domain satisfaction and are creating new measures to capture hedonic experience in daily life. This project aims to answer questions about: 1) the quality and comparability of responses to the fine-grained versus brief DRM measures; 2) unique correlative and predictive associations of evaluated and experienced well-being with health; and 3) differences related to life period (midlife, young old, oldest old), retirement status, and individual characteristics such as non-pathological cognitive decline and personality. Our overall objective is to establish criteria for parsimonious-but-comprehensive survey measures of subjective well-being. The information obtained will advance assessment of well-being in large surveys of older adults and our understanding of life quality in late life.