This study examines differences in the structure of seven Life Satisfaction Index (LSI) items across three generations of Mexican Americans. Viewing the covariance structure of the items as a function of several parameter matrices, we analyzed factorial invariance by testing hypotheses involving equivalence constraints on one or more parameter matrices. Analysis of covariance structures, or LISREL, was used to assess the factorial invariance. Differences in the factorial structure of the LSI were found between the older generation and the other two generations (i.e., the middle-age and younger generations). These differences persisted even when generational differences in education, income, and acculturation were taken into account. Further analyses revealed that generational differences were contained in only one (i.e., congruence) of the three first-order factors. Consequently, intergenerational comparisons in the other two dimensions (i.e., zest and mood tone) are appropriate.
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