The validity of self-report measures of subjective well-being (SWB) was examined and compared with non-self-report measures using a sample of 136 college students studied over the course of a semester. A principal axis factor analysis of self- and non-self-report SWB measures revealed a single unitary construct underlying the measures. Conventional single-item and multi-item self-report measures correlated highly with alternative measures, with theoretical correlates of SWB, and with a principal axis factor underlying five non-self-report measures of well-being. Comparisons of family versus friend informant reports demonstrated the considerable cross-situational consistency and temporal stability of SWB. Evidence of the discriminant validity of the measures was provided by low correlations of the various SWB measures with constructs theoretically unrelated to well-being. It was concluded that conventional self-report instruments validly measure the SWB construct, and that alternative, non-self-report measures are useful for providing a comprehensive theoretical account of happiness and life satisfaction.
Sandvik, E., Diener, E., &Seidlitz, L. (1993). Subjective well‐being: The convergence and stability of self‐report and non‐self‐report measures. Journal of personality, 61(3), 317-342.