The scale is copyrighted but you are free to use it without permission or charge by all professionals (researchers and practitioners) as long as you give credit to the authors of the scale: Ed Diener, Robert A. Emmons, Randy J. Larsen and Sharon Griffin as noted in the 1985 article in the Journal of Personality Assessment.
The SWLS is a short 5-item instrument designed to measure global cognitive judgments of satisfaction with one's life. The scale usually requires only about one minute of a respondent's time.
In order to better understand the scores of the SWLS, please read the document below.
If you would like to use SWLS on a 5-point scale, please refer to the following paper for norms.
Kobau, R., Sniezek, J., Zack, M. M., Lucas, R. E., & Burns, A. (2010). Well‐being assessment: An evaluation of well‐being scales for public health and population estimates of well‐being among US adults. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-being, 2(3), 272-297. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1758-0854.2010.01035.x
If you would like to know more about SWLS and its related research, please read the following papers, whose references are below. An especially critical paper regarding the SWLS is the Pavot and Diener (1993) paper.
Pavot, W. G., Diener, E., Colvin, C. R., & Sandvik, E. (1991). Further validation of the Satisfaction with Life Scale: Evidence for the cross-method convergence of well-being measures. Journal of Personality Assessment, 57, 149-161.
Translations of the SWLS into various languages are available. Feel free to translate the SWLS into other languages. However, we would appreciate it if you could send us a copy of the translation so we can update this list.