Inducing score reliability from previous reports: An examination of life satisfaction studies

Matt Vassar, Jason W. Ridge, Aaron D. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The sample specific nature of reliability is often overlooked in substantive research, with investigators frequently referencing reliability estimates from previous studies as the basis for presuming the score integrity for their data. The purpose of the current study was to examine this practice, known as reliability induction, across studies using a popular life satisfaction (LS) measure, the Satisfaction with Life Scale. A comprehensive literature search was conducted, yielding a final sample of 196 studies using the instrument. Fifty-two studies involving 76 samples induced reliability coefficients from other sources. These studies were coded in terms of sample characteristics and variability estimates to derive comparisons in these two areas between the induced reports and the original studies. Results suggest that none of the studies inducing reliability had sufficient justification for induction. It was also found that estimating reliability coefficients for the data in hand has increased relative to induced reports and studies omitting reliability information. Practical implications for substantive researchers are discussed and suggestions for additional research are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-45
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Life satisfaction
  • Reliability induction
  • Satisfaction with life scale


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