Developmental investigation of the domain-specific nature of the life satisfaction construct across the post-school transition

Xidan Chen
Alexandre Morin
Philip D. Parker, Australian Catholic University
Herbert Marsh


This study evaluated the nature of the life satisfaction construct with an emphasis on the comparison between a global or domain-specific operationalization during the transition from adolescence to adulthood. A combination of person-centered and variable-centered methods were used to analyze 7 waves of data covering the postschool transition from a sample of 24,721 youth participating in Longitudinal Study of Australian Youth (LSAY) between 1998 and 2010. Evidence for the increasing importance of a domain-specific approach as adolescents entered adulthood was provided by: (1) factor analyses identifying a 3-factor model covering achievement, family, and leisure satisfaction that proved invariant across time waves; (2) factor mixture analyses showing shape-related differences between profiles (i.e., within-profile differences between domains) that increased as young people moved into adulthood.