Is the above average effect measurable at all? The validity of the self-reported happiness minus other's perceived happiness construct


Individuals routinely rate themselves higher than their peers on a number of attributes and capabilities, including their satisfaction with life. However, the construct validity of this above-average effect requires specific psychometric properties of ratings of one’s contentment and ratings of others' perceived contentment. This article tests these properties with respect to the popular Satisfaction With Life Scale through a multivariate measurement model with latent change and method effects. The model is fitted to two independent data sets (N = 597 and N = 964), and it is found twice that four items are suitable to compute a meaningful composite difference score. It is concluded that the above-average effect is a systematic multivariate phenomenon that can be assessed by the difference of two manifest, absolute evaluation scores.

Applied Psychological Measurement
JF Bonnefon
JF Bonnefon
Behavioral Scientist