What is the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS)?
(SWLS) is a five-item scale developed by Ed Diener, Robert A. Emmons, Randy J. Larsen, and Sharon Griffin in 1985. It is a straightforward and easy-to-use scale that seeks to ascertain whether a person feels satisfied with their life.
It doesn’t try to zoom into specific aspects of their life; however, if the client is dissatisfied with life, the scale leads to opportunities for the counselor and the client to identify what contributes to their dissatisfaction.
If you’re going to use the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) for your counseling practice, here’s a short guide to help you understand how to use it and interpret the results!
How to use the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS):
Issue this to your client to further understand their situation.
Suppose your client is visiting you for mental health therapy or counseling. In that case, it is prudent to consider different angles regarding what is currently contributing to their mental health issues. You might want to ask them how they look at their life if they’re happy with it or are unsatisfied with the cards that life dealt them
Let’s say that that is the angle you’re going to proceed with. Then, it would be best to issue Diener’s Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) in order to assess the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction that your client has regarding their life.
You may issue this during your appointment. In the event that your session is online, you may send this to them digitally.
The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) proper:
As mentioned, the scale is easy to use because it’s only a five-item assessment. The client simply needs to rate themselves based on the following prompts:
- In most ways, my life is close to my ideal.
- The conditions of my life are excellent.
- I am satisfied with my life.
- So far, I have gotten the important things I want in life.
- If I could live my life over again, I would change almost nothing.
They need to rate themselves based on those prompts from a scale of 1 to 7, with:
- 1 = they strongly disagree
- 2 = they disagree
- 3 = they slightly disagree
- 4 = they neither agree nor disagree
- 5 = they slightly agree
- 6 = they agree
- 7 = they strongly agree
Pretty easy and straightforward, right? While this may be easy based on the instructions, answering the prompts can be difficult for the client. Or rather, it might take a while before they even give themselves a rating.
It depends on the person, but sitting down and suddenly reflecting on your life might be an overwhelming experience, especially if it hasn’t been going great, so it’s best to give clients the time and space they need.
Tally the scores.
As the therapist/counselor, there shouldn’t be any hiccups on your end. All you need to do is to add up the scores! The higher the score, the more likely your client is satisfied with their life, or at least is generally okay with it. However, lower scores mean they aren’t happy with it.
Here are the score ranges:
- 5-9 = extremely dissatisfied
- 10-14 = dissatisfied
- 15-19 = slightly dissatisfied
- 20 = neutral
- 21-25 = slightly satisfied
- 26-30 = satisfied
- 31-35 = extremely satisfied
Set the groundwork for further discussion.
If you’re wondering if you can develop a treatment plan based on the score ranges, it’s best that you hold off on that. If the client scores 20 or below, you should frame your next session for them by basing your questions on their answers to identify what contributes to their neutrality or dissatisfaction.
Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) Example
Here’s a filled-out Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) sample to help consolidate your understanding of how this resource works.
When should the Satisfaction with Life Scale be used?
It’s best to start using this when determining what is causing your client’s mental health issues or what is contributing to them. Naturally, in order to do so, you’re going to have to consider different angles, one of which is asking if they’re satisfied or dissatisfied with their life.
Issuing this as early as possible, like during your first-ever appointment with them, is good. This allows you to immediately set the groundwork for identifying what might be causing or contributing to their problems.
Who can use the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS)?
The following healthcare practitioners can use the Satisfaction with Life Scale for their respective practices:
- (Clinical) psychologists
- (Mental health) therapists
The person who will be engaging with this the most will be the client since they will be rating themselves according to the prompts.
Why use Carepatron for counseling software?
Here at Carepatron, we care about helping healthcare practitioners improve productivity and efficiency, especially when streamlining their clinical documentation. By taking advantage of our easy-to-navigate EHR system, you’ll gain access to various counseling worksheets and assessments, such as the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS)!
Using these assessments will help you with gauging your client in terms of what is causing their mental health issues and/or what factors contribute to these issues. In the case of the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), this one will assess the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction they have with their life. How they rate themselves will allow practitioners to try and identify what exactly is causing their dissatisfaction.
You can even store these assessments in a HIPAA-compliant manner and secure them by setting up who can access these documents besides you.
Not only are our counseling worksheets and assessments intuitive, but they’re also easily accessible! Whether using an office desktop, a laptop, or even your phone, you can access your counseling assessments anytime, anywhere!