College Satisfaction Scale (CSS): Evaluation of contextual satisfaction in relation to college student life satisfaction and academic performance

Ernesto Lodi, Diego Boerchi, Paola Magnano, Patrizia Patrizi

Accepted August 31, 2017

First published August 31, 2017


A large number of studies have identified factors that foster or inhibit well-being and academic achievement of college students from the perspective of prevention and quality of life promotion. The aim of the present study was to create and validate a new questionnaire to assess domain-specific satisfaction at University: the College Satisfaction Scale (CSS). It is composed of 20 items to measure 5 dimensions: appropriateness of the student’s choice, quality of the University services, relationships with his/her colleagues, quality of his/her study habits and usefulness for his/her future career. Participants were Italian college students: 88 in the pilot study and 425 in the actual one. Both reliability, assessed with Omega index, and construct validity, estimated through confirmatory factor analysis, were good for all the subscales. The results showed that both average grade scores and academic efficiency were strongly related to satisfaction with the efficiency of studying and slightly related with some of the other subscales.


  • ASTIN, A.W. (1993). What matters in College? Four Critical Yearsrevisited. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

  • BALKIS, M. (2013). Academic Procrastination, Academic LifeSatisfaction and Academic Achievement: The mediation roleof rational beliefs about studying. Journal of Cognitive andBehavioral Psychotherapies, 13(1), 57-74.

  • BENTLER, P.M. (1990). Comparative fit indexes in structural models.Psychological Bulletin, 107(2), 238-246.

  • BERGER, J.B. & MILEM, J.F. (2000). Organizational behavior inhigher education and student outcomes. In J.C. Smart (Ed.),Higher education: Handbook of theory and research. Vol. XV. NewYork: Springer.

  • BRIEF, A.P. (1998). Attitudes in and around organizations. ThousandOaks, CA: Sage.

  • BYRNE, B.M. (2010). Structural equation modeling with Amos: Basicconcepts, applications, and programming (2nd ed.). New York,NY: Taylor and Francis Group.

  • CANTOR, N. & SANDERSON, C.A. (1999). Life task participationand well-being: The importance of taking part in daily life. InD. Kahneman, E. Diener & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Well-being: Thefoundations of hedonic psychology. New York: Russell Sage.

  • CAPRARA, G.V., ALESSANDRI, G., TROMMSDORFF, G.,HEIKAMP, T., YAMAGUCHI, S. & SUZUKI, F. (2012). Positiveorientation across three cultures. Journal of Cross-CulturalPsychology,
  • CHAMBEL, M.J. & CURRAL, L. (2005). Stress in academic life:Work characteristics as predictors of student well-beingand performance. Applied Psychology,
  • CHEN, R. (2012). Institutional Characteristics and College StudentDropout Risks: A Multilevel Event History Analysis. Research inHigher Education,
  • DI FABIO, A. & BUSONI, L. (2009). Psychometric properties of theItalian version of the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) withUniversity students. Counseling: Giornale Italiano di Ricerca eApplicazioni, 2(2), 201-211.

  • DI NUOVO, S. (Ed.) (2009). Studio della variabilità dei percorsistudenteschi per la definizione dei vincoli rimuovibili di sistema edi ambiente formative. Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università edella Ricerca, Comitato Nazionale per la Valutazione del SistemaUniversitario.

  • DIENER, E., EMMONS, R.A., LARSEN, R.J. & GRIFFIN, S.(1985). The Satisfaction With Life Scale. Journal of PersonalityAssessment, 49, 71-75.

  • DIENER, E. & FUJITA, F. (1995). Resources, personal strivings, andsubjective well-being: A nomothetic and idiographic approach.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
  • DIENER, E., WIRTZ, D., TOV, W., KIM-PRIETO, C., CHOI, D.,OISHI, S. & BISWAS-DIENER, R. (2009). New measures ofwell-being: Flourishing and positive and negative feelings. SocialIndicators Research, 39, 247-266.

  • DUNN, T.J., BAGULEY, T. & BRUNSDEN, V. (2014). From alpha toomega: A practical solution to the pervasive problem of internalconsistency estimation. British Journal of Psychology, 105(3),399-412.
  • EDWARDS, J.E. & WATERS, L.K. (1982). Involvement, ability,performance, and satisfaction as predictors of collegeattrition. Educational and Psychological Measurement
  • EL-HILALI, N., AL-JABER, S. & HUSSEIN, L. (2015). Students’Satisfaction and Achievement and Absorption Capacity inHigher Education. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences,
  • ELLIOT,A.J.,SHELDON,K.M.&CHURCH,M.A.(1997).Avoidancepersonal goals and subjective well-being. Personality and SocialPsychology Bulletin, 23, 915-927.

  • ELLIOTT, K.M. & SHIN, D. (2002). Student Satisfaction: Analternative approach to assessing this important concept. Journalof Higher Education Policy and Management, 24(2), 197-209,
  • HELLER, D., JUDGE, T.A. & WATSON, D. (2002). The confoundingrole of personality and trait affectivity in the relationship betweenjob and life satisfaction. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 23,815-835.

  • HELLER, D., WATSON, D. & ILIES, R. (2004). The role of personversus situation in life satisfaction: A critical examination.Psychological Bulletin, 130, 574-600.

  • HU, L.T. & BENTLER, P.M. (1999). Cut-off criteria for fit indexes incovariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus newalternatives. Structural equation modeling: A multidisciplinaryjournal, 6(1), 1-55.

  • HUEBNER, E.S. (1994). Preliminary development and validationof a multidimensional life scale for children. PsychologicalAssessment, 6(2), 149-158.

  • HUEBNER, E.S. & GILMAN, R. (2006). Students who like and dislikeschool. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 1, 139-150.

  • HUEBNER, E.S. & McCULLOUGH, G. (2000). Correlates of schoolsatisfaction among adolescents. Journal of Educational Research,93, 331-335.

  • JACKSON, D.L., GILLASPY Jr, J.A. & PURC-STEPHENSON, R.(2009). Reporting practices in confirmatory factor analysis: Anoverview and some recommendations. Psychological methods,14(1), 6-23.

  • JUDGE, T.A. & ILIES, R. (2004). Affect and job satisfaction: A studyof their relationship at work and at home. Journal of AppliedPsychology,
  • JUDGE, T.A. & LOCKE, E.A. (1993). Effect of dysfunctional thoughtprocesses on subjective wellbeing and job satisfaction. Journal ofApplied Psychology, 78, 475-490.

  • KANDEMIR, M. (2014). Reasons of academic procrastination:Self-regulation, academic self-efficacy, life satisfaction anddemographics variables. Procedia – Social and BehavioralSciences,
  • KAREMERA, D., REUBEN, L.J. & SILLAH, M.R. (2003). The effectsof academic environment and background characteristics onstudent satisfaction and performance: The case of South CarolinaState University’s school of business. College Student Journal,37(2), 298-308.

  • KUMAR, S.P.K. & DILEEP, P. (2006). Academic life satisfactionscale and its effectiveness in predicting academic success. ERICDocument Reproduction Service No. ED491869. Retrieved fromERIC database.

  • LENT, R.W. (2004). Toward a unifying theoretical and practicalperspective on well-being and psychosocial adjustment. Journalof Counseling Psychology,
  • LENT, R.W. & BROWN, S.D. (2008). Social Cognitive Career Theoryand Subjective Well-Being in the Context of Work. Journal ofCareer Assessment,
  • LENT, R.W., BROWN, S.D. & HACKETT, G. (1994). Toward aunifying social cognitive theory of career and academic interest,choice, and performance. Journal of Vocational Behavior
  • LENT, R.W., SINGLEY, H.D., SHEU, U.B., GAINOR, K.A.,BRENNER, B.R., TREISTMAN, D. & ADES, L. (2005). Socialcognitive predictors of domain and life satisfaction: Exploringthe theoretical precursors of subjective wellbeing. Journal ofCounseling Psychology,
  • LENT, R.W., SINGLEY, D., SHEU, H., SCHMIDT, J.A. & SCHMIDT,L.C. (2007). Relation of social-cognitive factors to academicsatisfactioninengineeringstudents.JournalofCareerAssessment
  • LENT, R.W., TAVEIRA, M., SHEU, U.B. & SINGLEY, H.D. (2009).Social cognitive predictors of academic adjustment and lifesatisfaction in Portuguese college students: A longitudinalanalysis. Journal of Vocational Behavior,
  • LEWIS, A., HUEBNER, E.S., MALONE, P.S. & VALOIS, R.F. (2011).Life satisfaction and student engagement in adolescents. Journalof Youth and Adolescence,
  • MA, Y. & CRAGG, K.M. (2012). So close, yet so far away: Early vs.late dropouts. Journal of College Student Retention: Research,Theory and Practice,
  • MARTINS, F. (1998). A satisfação acadêmica: Construção deuma escala. In Anais do 4º Congresso Galaico-Português dePsicopedagogia, Universidade do Minho, Braga-Portugal.

  • NAUTA, M.M. (2007). Assessing college students’ satisfaction withtheir academic majors. Journal of Career Assessment, 15, 446-462.
  • NEGRICEA, C.I., EDU, T. & AVRAM, E.M. (2014). EstablishingInfluence of Specific Academic Quality on Student Satisfaction.Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences,
  • NULTY, D.D. (2008). The adequacy of response rates to online andpaper surveys: What can be done? Assessment & Evaluation inHigher Education,
  • NURMI, J.E., AUNOLA, K., SALMELA-ARO, K. & LINDROOS,M. (2003). The role of success expectation and task-avoidancein academic performance and satisfaction: Three studies onantecedents, consequences and correlates. ContemporaryEducational Psychology,
  • OKUN, M.A., KARDASH, C.A., STOCK, W.A., SANDLER, I.N. etal. (1986). Measuring perceptions of the quality of academic lifeamong college students. Journal of College Student Personnel,27(5), 447-451.

  • PAVOT, W. & DIENER, E. (2008). The Satisfaction With Life Scaleand the emerging construct of life satisfaction. The Journal ofPositive Psychology,
  • PIKE, G.R. (1991). The Effects of Background, Coursework, andInvolvement on Student’s grades and Satisfaction. Research inHigher Education, 32(1), 15-30.

  • RAIN, J.S., LANE, I.M. & STEINER, D.D. (1991). A currentlook at the job satisfaction/life satisfaction relationship:Review and future considerations. Human Resources
  • RAMSDEN, P. (1991). A performance indicator of teaching quality inhigher education: The Course Experience Questionnaire. Studiesin Higher Education, 16(2), 129-150.

  • RYAN, J.F. (2004). The relationship between institutionalexpenditures and degree attainment at baccalaureate colleges.Research in Higher Education, 45(2), 97-114.
  • ROTTER,N.G.(1988).StudentattritioninatechnologicalUniversity:Academic lifestyle. College Student Journal, 22(3), 241-248.

  • SALMELA-ARO, K. & TUOMINEN-SOINI, H. (2010). Adolescents’life satisfaction during the transition to post-comprehensiveeducation: Antecedents and consequences. Journal of HappinessStudies,
  • SAVITHRI, J.J. (2014). Interactive effect of academic procrastinationand academic performance on life satisfaction. InternationalJournal of Science and Research, 3(3), 377-381.

  • SCHMITT, N., OSWALD, F.L., FRIEDE, A., IMUS, A. & MERRITT, S.(2008). Perceived fit with an academic environment: Attitudinaland behavioral outcomes. Journal of Vocational Behavior
  • SELIGMAN, M.E.P. (2002). Positive psychology, positive prevention,andpositivetherapy.InC.R.Snyder&S.J.Lopez(Eds.),Handbookof positive psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • SILVA, J.C. (2001). Satisfação no trabalho: Percepções dos gestorese gestoras de escolas secundárias públicas no norte de Portugal.Gestão em Ação, 4(1), 31-38.

  • SISTO, F.F., BATISTA, M.A., FERREIRA, C.E.B., PAVARINI, M.L.C.,OLIVEIRA, J.C.S., OLIVEIRA, R., OLIVEIRA, S.M.S.S. &SANTOS, A. (2002). Avaliando a Satisfação escolar no EnsinoFundamental. In E. Boruchovitch & J.A. Bzuneck (Eds.), Amotivação do aluno. Petrópolis: Vozes.

  • SMART, J.C., FELDMAN, K.A. & ETHINGTON, C.A. (2006).Holland’s theory and patterns of college student success. InCommissionedreportforthenationalsymposiumonpostsecondarysuccess: Spearheading a dialogue on student success. Washington,DC: The National Postsecondary Education Cooperative.

  • SOARES, A.P.C., VASCONCELOS, R.M. & ALMEIDA, L.S. (2002).AdaptaçãoeSatisfaçãonaUniversidade:Apresentaçãoevalidaçãodo Questionário de Satisfação Acadêmica. In A.S. Pouzada, L.S.Almeida & Vasconcelos, R.M. (Eds.), Contextos e dinâmica davida acadêmica. Guimarães: Universidade do Minho.

  • SOVET, L., PARK, M.S. & JUNG, S. (2014). Validation andpsychometric properties of Academic Major Satisfaction Scaleamong Korean college students. Social Indicators Research,119(2), 1121-1131.

  • SPADY, W.G. (1971). Dropouts from higher education: Toward anempirical model. Interchange,
  • STARR, A.M., BETZ, E.L. & MENNE, J.W. (1971). College StudentSatisfaction Questionnaire (CSSQ). Manual. Ames, IA: CentralIowa Associates.

  • STAATS, S. & PARTLO, C. (1990). Predicting intent to get a collegedegree. Journal of College Student Development, 31(3), 245-249.

  • STRAHAN, S. & CREDÉ, M. (2015). Satisfaction with college: Re-examining its structure and its relationships with the intent toremain in college and academic performance. Journal of CollegeStudent Retention: Research, Theory and Practice, 16(4), 537-561.

  • SULDO, S.M., HUEBNER, E.S., SAVAGE, J. & THALJI, A. (2011).Promoting subjective well-being. In M. Bray & T. Kehle (Eds.),Oxford handbook of school psychology. New York: OxfordUniversity Press.

  • SULDO, S.M. & SHAFFER, E.J. (2008). Looking beyondpsychopathology: The dual-factor model of mental health inyouth. School Psychology Review, 37, 52-68.

  • SULDO, S.M., THALJI, A. & FERRON, J. (2011). Longitudinalacademic outcomes predicted by early adolescents’ subjectivewell-being, psychopathology, and mental health status yieldedfrom a dualfactor model. Journal of Positive Psychology,
  • TRACEY, T.J.G. & ROBBINS, S.B. (2006). The interest-majorcongruence and college success relation: A longitudinal study.Journal of Vocational Behavior,
  • VERKUYTEN, M. & THIJS, J. (2002). School satisfaction ofelementary school children: The role of performance, peerrelations, ethnicity and gender. Social Indicators Research, 59,203-228.

  • WHISMAN, M.A. & JUDD, C.M. (2015). A Cross-National Analysisof Measurement Invariance of the Satisfaction With Life Scale.Psychological Assessment,
  • WILKINS, K.G., SANTILLI, S., FERRARI, L., NOTA, L., TRACEY,T.J.G. & SORESI. S. (2014). The relationship among positiveemotional dispositions, career adaptability, and satisfactionin Italian high school students. Journal of Vocational Behavior

Related articles

Article info







Cite the article:

Author Surname Author Initial. Title. Publication Title. Year Published;Volume number(Issue number):Pages Used. doi:DOI Number.

Lodi Ernesto. Boerchi Diego. Magnano Paola. Patrizi Patrizia. College Satisfaction Scale (CSS): Evaluation of contextual satisfaction in relation to college student life satisfaction and academic performance. BPA Applied Psychology Bulletin. 2017;279(1):51-64. doi:10.26387/bpa.279.1.

Citation tool

How to cite this article

Author Surname Author Initial. Title. Publication Title. Year Published;Volume number(Issue number):Pages Used. doi:DOI Number.

Lodi Ernesto. Boerchi Diego. Magnano Paola. Patrizi Patrizia. College Satisfaction Scale (CSS): Evaluation of contextual satisfaction in relation to college student life satisfaction and academic performance. BPA Applied Psychology Bulletin. 2017;279(1):51-64. doi:10.26387/bpa.279.1.