Findings on happiness in Costa et al. (1987a): study US 1971

Author(s)Costa, P.T.; McCrae, R.R.; Zonderman, A.B.
TitleLongitudinal Analyses of Psychological Well-Being in a National Sample: Stability of Mean Levels.
SourceJournal of Gerontology, 1987, Vol. 42, 50 - 55
Public25-74 aged, USA, followed 9 years, 1971-1984
 At T2 65% female, 37,5% male, 85,5% white, 13,5% Black, 1,0% other
Last assesment1984
 T1: 1971-1975 T2: 1981-1984
Survey nameNot available
 National center for Health Statistics Survey (NHANES) Same study also reported in COSTA 1987/2 (cross-sectional analysis)
SampleProbability multistage stratified area sample
 Systematic oversampling of: women in childbearing age, elderly and poor
Respondents N =4942
 Additional sample N=4986
Non Response30%
 Non-response at T1: 30%, Drop-out at T2: 28% Drop-outs were older, lower educated and more male. At T1 they had scored lower on positive affect, but not higher on negative affect
AssesmentQuestionnaire: paper
 A booklet completed by participants with help from interviewers if required.
Happiness measure(s) used
Full textSelf report on 8 questions A Have you been under or felt you were under any strain, stress or pressure during the past month? B Have you been anxious, worried, or upset during the past month? C Have you been feeling emotionally stable and sure of yourself, during the past month? D How relaxed or tense have you been during the past month? E How depressed or cheerful have you been, during the past month? F How have you been feeling in general during the past month? G How happy, satisfied or pleased have you been with your personal life, during the past month? H How much energy, pep, vitality have you felt, during the past month? Rating: 0-5 scale with verbally labeled response options Computation: (C+F+G+H) - (A+B+D+E) Name: Shortened General Wellbeing Schedule (GWB)
Author's labelGeneral well-being schedule (GWB
Page in publication50-51
RemarksMeans computed by us subtracting Negative Affect from Positive Affect score: T1: 12.73 (PA) - 9.67 (NA) = 3.06 (ABS) T2: 12.93 (PA) - 9.80 (NA) = 3.13 (ABS)
Finding used in
nation ranks
 On original range 0 - 0On range 0 - 10
Standard deviation

Correlational findings

Author's label Our subject description
Birth cohort (cross sequentional analysis)show  Past happiness ( 1 to 10 years ago)