Age-Related Differences in the Factor Structure of Multiple Wellbeing Indicators in a Large Multinational European Survey

  • R. A. BurnsEmail author
Research Paper


There is increasing evidence that uni-dimensional wellbeing models often report comparable and sometimes better fit to multi-dimensional and hierarchical models. Recent proliferation in Bi-Factor modelling supports a general factor reflecting substantial commonality in wellbeing indicators. The current study examines age-related differences in the factor structure of wellbeing across the lifespan. Participants (n = 42,038) were from the European Social Survey (ESS), a large multi-national study who completed the ESS wellbeing module. Confirmatory Factor (CFA) and Bi-factor analyses revealed a uni-dimensional model reported best fit. Age differences in the magnitude and rank order of factor loadings was supported by a formal invariance test of the factor loadings although these differences did not substantially impact on factor scores. In line with a growing body of CFA and Bi-Factor findings, ESS wellbeing indicators reflect one general wellbeing factor. Despite age differences in the factor loadings, these differences had little adverse impact on overall wellbeing score. Overall, a uni-dimensional factor structure was consistent over the lifespan.


Wellbeing Confirmatory factor analysis Bi-factor models 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing, The Research School of Population HealthThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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