Findings on happiness in Berkman (1971): study US Alameda County, California 1965

Author(s)Berkman, P.L.
TitleLife Stress and Psychological Well-Being: A Replication of Langner's Analysis in the Midtown Manhatten Study.
SourceJournal of Health and Social Behavior, 1971, Vol. 12, 35 - 45
PublicAdults, general public, Alameda County, USA, 1965
Survey nameNot available
SampleNot available
 Probability multistage sample of households.
Respondents N =6928
Non ResponseNot available
AssesmentQuestionnaire: paper
 Mailed questionnaire
General remarksSame data also reported in RENNE 1970 and 1974. In this excerpt the well-being scale was reversed by us, so that a high score indicates a high happiness. As a consequence all ridits had to be subtracted from 1.
Happiness measure(s) used
Full textSelfreport on 8 questions: "Here is a list that describes some of the ways people feel at different times. How often do you feel each of these ways?" A Very lonely or remote from other people B Depressed or very unhappy C Bored D So restless you couldn't sit long in a chair E Vaguely uneasy about something without knowing why F On top of the world G Particularly excited or interested in something H Pleased about having accomplished something Answer options: 0 never 1 sometimes 3 often Summation: Positive Affect Score (PAS): summed scores on F, G, H Negative Affect Score (NAS): summed scores on A, B, C, D, E Affect Balance Score (ABS): PAS minus NAS Possible range -15 to +9 Transformed to a 7 point scale, where 1 is all or almost all positive feelings and 7 is all or almost all negative feelings. 1 = neg 0-1 and pos 7-9 2 = neg 0-1 and pos 4-6 2 = neg 2-3 and pos 7-9 3 = neg 0-1 and pos 3 3 = neg 2-3 and pos 4-6 3 = neg 4-5 and pos 7-9 4 = neg 0-1 and pos 0-2 4 = neg 2-3 and pos 3 4 = neg 4-5 and pos 4-6 4 = neg 6-15 and pos 7-9 5 = neg 2-3 and pos 0-2 5 = neg 4-5 and pos 3 5 = neg 6-15 and pos 4-6 6 = neg 4-5 and pos 0-2 6 = neg 6-15 and pos 3 7 = neg 6-15 and pos 0-2 Name: Berkman modified variation of Bradburn's `Affect Balance Scale'
Author's labelPsychological well-being
Error estimatesReliability: Validity: Test for external validity shows correspondence with stressfactors as psychiatric diagnosis did in the Langner & Michael (1963) study.
Finding used in
nation ranks

Correlational findings

Author's label Our subject description
Adult stressshow  Amount of problems perceived
Adult stressshow  Life-stress inventories, also classified as above ↑
Broken home in childhoodshow  Number of parents (broken home)
Childhood stressshow  Burden of earlier life-events
Childhood stressshow  Hardship in family of origin, also classified as above ↑
Happiness of parents' marriage inchildhoodshow  Parents marital satisfaction
Life stressshow  Burden of earlier life-events
Long or serious ill-ness in family during childhoodshow  Hardship in family of origin
Marital satisfactionshow  Satisfaction with marriage
Parental worriesshow  Concerns about parenthood
Poor interpersonal relationsshow  Current total social participation
Poor physical healthshow  Current general health status
Positive evaluation of mother and fatheras a parentshow  Relations with parents  'Objective' socio-economic status
Self-evaluated com- parative financial statusshow  Relative income