BioPsychoSocial Assessment Tools for the Elderly - Assessment Summary Sheet

Test: Life Satisfaction Index (LSI)

Year: 1961

Domain: Psychological

Assessment Tool Category: Quality of Life/Satisfaction

Variations/Translations: There are several versions of the Life Satisfaction Index (LSI). The original, The Life Satisfaction Index A (LSIA), comprises 20 items. Secondly, the LSIB contains 12 questions, a version that is barely used. A third version, the LSIZ, was proposed by Wood et al. (1969) with 13 of the 20 items from the LSIA. Finally, Adams recommended deleting items 11 and 14 from the LSIA forming an 18 item version which he also called the LSIA. Lastly, the Life Satisfaction Index for the Third Age (LSITA), is a 35-item questionnaire that has been created to measure successful aging in participants over 50 years of age. Chinese and Japanese translations are also available.

Setting: Senior community settings

Method of Delivery: Self-report questionnaire

Description: The Life Satisfaction Index (LSI) covers general feelings of well–being among older people to identify “successful” aging. The concept of life satisfaction is closely related to morale, adjustment and psychological well-being. From a review of previous measurement instruments Neugarten et al.(1961) identified five components of life satisfaction which the LSI intended to measure. These include zest (as opposed to apathy), resolution and fortitude, congruence between desired and achieved goals, positive self-concept and mood tone. Positive well being is indicated by the individual taking pleasure in his daily activities, finding life meaningful, reporting a feeling of success in achieving major goals, a positive self image and optimism.

Scoring/Interpretation: There are two ways of scoring the LSI. In the original method, a two-point agree/disagree score rated items 0 for a response indicating dissatisfaction and 1 for satisfaction. A three-point scoring system, rating a satisfied response as 2, an uncertain response as 1 and an unsatisfied response as 0 showed little advantage over the two-point method. Neugarten et al.(1961) obtained a mean score of 12.4 (SD, 4.4).

Time to Administer: Not stated but estimated to take around 10 minutes

Availability: In public domain. Can be accessed online

Software: N/A


Quantitative/Qualitative: Qualitative

Validity (Quantitative): The LSIA shows strong correlations with other scales. In rating Life Satisfaction, agreement between the clinical psychologist (LSR-C1) and the other raters was greater for the older respondents than for the younger with regards to scores on the two Indexes. For persons under 65, LSR-C1 correlated .05 with LSIA, and .32 with LSIB. For persons over 65, the correlations were .55 and .59 respectively.

Reliability (Quantitative): The alpha internal consistency ranges from 0.79 to 0.90. Good test re-test reliability.


Adams, D.L. (1969). Analysis of a Life Satisfaction Index. Journal of Gerontology, 24, 470-474.

Barrett, A.J., & Murk, P.J. (2006). Life Satisfaction Index for the Third Age (LSITA): A Measurement of Successful Aging. In E. P. Isaac (Ed.), Proceedings of the 2006 Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education (pp. 7-12). St. Louis: University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Neugarten, B.J., Havighurst, R.J., & Tobin, S.S. (1961). The Measurement of Life Satisfaction. Journal of Gerontology, 16, 134-143.

Wood, V., Wylie, M.L., & Sheafor, B. (1969). An Analysis of a Short Self-Report Measure of Life Satisfaction: Correlation With Rater Judgments. Journal of Gerontology, 24, 465-469.

Comments: The Life Satisfaction Index has been extensively used and its psychometric properties rival those of the best among comparable indices. Despite these strengths there have been criticisms regarding its structure and interpretation.