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General Life Satisfaction

This is the QuestionLink page for the harmonized construct "general life satisfaction".

On this page, you will find:

  • A construct definition, which we used to select measurement instruments from the survey programs.
  • An overview of all measurement instruments for the construct across included surveys and across all survey years.
  • A list of all measurement instruments with their question wording, response options, and information on where the instrument was used. Here you can select any instrument as a reference instrument and download a recoding document. This way you can recode all other instruments towards that reference instrument.

You can also download the general life satisfaction construct report with detailled information on the construct definition, the datasets we used, and the variable names by instrument, survey, and wave.

Construct definition

General life satisfaction refers to respondents subjective perception of their overall quality of life. It is general in the sense that we measure an evaluation across all life domains, instead of just satisfaction with a specific domain. We only included instruments that ask about current life satisfaction. Furthermore, we only included measures on "satisfaction" but excluded, to our mind conceptually distinct, measures on "happiness".

Overview of all measurement instruments

General life satisfaction is used by eight of the surveys included in QuestionLink. In total we harmonized seven German measurement instruments. Please note that some instruments are used by several surveys and some surveys use several different measurement instruments.

QuestionLink surveys which measured the construct

Measurement instruments by survey and year

Measurement instruments are named by the following scheme:

  1. The survey in QuestionLink which first used the measurement instrument.
  2. If there are several measurement instruments which were used first by the same survey, then instruments are differentiated with A, B, C, etc.. Letters are sorted by the number of years an instrument it was used in, starting with A for the most used.
  3. [x]pt for the number of response options (i.e., scale points).

The measurement instrument ALLBUS A 5pt for example was first used in the ALLBUS survey. Of both surveys first used in the ALLBUS, it was used in the most number of years (thus "A"). Lastly, it has five response options / scale points (thus "5pt").

The measurement instrument ESS 4pt, in contrast is the only instrument first used in the ESS. Thus it has no additional letter.

List of measurement instruments

Here are the seven measurement instruments for general life satisfaction, which were harmonized using the QuestionLink Engine.

With a click on "➔ use as reference instrument" you choose a reference instrument. This will download an HTML-Document, which contains recoding scripts to harmonize all other measurement instruments towards the chosen reference.

SOEP 11pt

SOEP (36) — NEPS (10) — ALLBUS (5) — GESIS Panel (2)

„How satisfied are you with your life, all things considered?“

Completely dissatisfied •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  • Completely satisfied

➔ use as reference instrument

ESS 11pt

ESS(9) — GESIS Panel (7)

"All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole nowadays?"

Extremely dissatisfied • • • • • • • • • • Extremely satisfied

➔ use as reference instrument

EVS 10pt

EVS (5)

„All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?“
Dissatisfied • • • • • • • • • Satisfied

➔ use as reference instrument

GEDA 11pt

GEDA (2)

"How satisfied are you with your life, all things considered?"

Completely dissatisfied • • • • • • • • • • Completely satisfied

➔ use as reference instrument


GESIS Panel (1)

Now think of your personal situation: How satisfied are you - all in all - with your life at the moment?

Very satisfied • Rather satisfied • Neither satisfied nor unsatisfied • Rather dissatisfied • Very dissatisfied

➔ use as reference instrument


GESIS Panel (1)

To what extent do you generally agree with the following three statements? I’m happy with my life.

Does not apply at all • Does not apply • Rather not applies • Partly applies • Does somewhat apply • Does apply • Fully applies

➔ use as reference instrument

ISSP 7pt

ISSP (1)

All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole nowadays?

Completely satisfied • Very satisfied • Fairly satisfied • Neither satisfied nor unsatisfied • Fairly dissatisfied • Very dissatisfied • Completely dissatisfied

➔ use as reference instrument

Recoding document revisions

We are steadily improving QuestionLink. This means that we will upload revised versions of the recoding documents from time to time. By clicking "use as reference instrument", you always download the most recent version. Below you find a link with which you can view and download all past document versions. If you have previously downloaded a document, you can match the versions via the date displayed top and right in your recoding document. Revisions are limited to visual and language aspects. When we update the recoding tables themselves, we will report that specifically.