Findings on happiness in Thompson et al. (1960): study US 1952

Author(s)Thompson, W.E.; Kosa, J.; Streib, G.F.
TitleThe Effect of Retirement on Personal Adjustment: A Panel Analysis.
SourceJournal of Gerontology, 1960, Vol. 15, 165 - 169
Public60+ aged, employed at start, followed 2 years, USA, 1952-54
Last assesment1954
 T1: 1952, T2: 1954.
Survey nameNot available
 Cornell Study of Occupational Retirement.
SampleNon-probability purposive sample
 Non-probabilityl sample using volunteers. All males were born in 1887, 1888 or 1889; relatively prosporous and well educated individuals from relatively large, affluent and progressive organizations from all parts of the country; 1082 Ss gainfully employed throughout, and 477 Ss retired between 1952 and 1954.
Respondents N =1559
Non ResponseNot available
AssesmentInterview: face-to-face
 Structured interview, followed by 2 mailed questionnaires.
Happiness measure(s) used
Full textSelfreport on 3 questions: A All in all, how much happiness would you say you find in life today......? 3 a great deal 2 some but not very much 1 almost none B In general, how would you say you feel most of the time, in good spirits or in low spirits.....? 1 I am usually in low spirits 2 I am sometimes in good spirits, sometimes in low spirits 3 I am mostly in good spirits C On the whole, how satisfied are you with your way of life today.....? 4 very satisfied 3 fairly satisfied 2 not very satisfied 1 not satisfied at all Items selected by Guttman scaling.
Author's labelSatisfaction with life
Page in publication166
RemarksAlmost symmetric: 1952: 51% satisfied, 49% dissatisfied, 1954: 43% satisfied, 57% dissatisfied Break satisfied/dissatisfied not reported
Error estimatesReproducibility: +.96, Error ratio : +.55
Finding used in
nation ranks

Correlational findings

Author's labelSubject Code
Subject description
Compulsory retirement.R14ae02Compulsory retirement (vs free choice)
Economic deprivationI01aa03aLater level of income
Having difficulties in keeping occupiedE02ag02Concern about (un)employment
Past happiness.H04ab02Actual changes in happiness
Past happiness.H04ab01bPast happiness ( 1 to 10 years ago), also classified as above ↑
Recent retirement.R14aa02Change in retirement status
Subjective healthH14ab02aGlobal health rating