Findings on happiness in Lehman et al. (1987): study US 1983

Author(s)Lehman, D.R.; Williams, A.F.; Wortman, C.B.
TitleLong-Term Effects of Losing a Spouse or Child in a Motor Vehicle Crash.
SourceJournal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1987, Vol. 52, 218 - 231
PublicBereaved and controls, USA, 1983
 21-65 aged who had lost their spouse in a traffic accident 4 to 7 years ago; control group matched for demographic variables (at the time of the crash).
Survey nameNot available
SampleNon-probability purposive sample
 Bereaved respondents randomly selected from records of every motor vehicle fatality (aged 21 to 65) in the state of Michigan (Wayne County) between 1976 and 1979. All deceased were motor vehicle occupants and innocent victims. Control respondents were selected from a 1976 study of 7581 Michigan residents who renewed their license (living in Wayne County in 1976, aged 18 to 65 and married). Controls were matched on a case-by-case basis to bereaved respondents on varables: sex, age, family income 1976, education level, and number and ages of children.
Respondents N =78
 39 individuals who lost spouse (innocent victim); 39 control respondents who were similar (at the time of the crash) on several demographic variables.
Non Response0
AssesmentInterview: face-to-face
Happiness measure(s) used
Full textSelfreport on 9 questions: We are interested in the way people are feeling these days. The following list describes some of the ways people feel at different times. Please indicate how often you felt each way during the last week. How often last week did you feel .....? A On the top of the world B Very lonely or remote from other people C Particularly excited or interested in something D Depressed or very unhappy E Pleased about having accomplished something F Bored G Proud because someone complimented you on something you had done H So restless you couldn't sit long in a chair I Vaguely uneasy about something without knowing why Answer options: 0 not at all 1 once 2 several times 3 often Summation: Positive Affect Score (PAS): summed scores on A, C, E, G Negative Affect Score (NAS): summed scores on B, D, F, H, I Affect Balance Score (ABS): PAS minus NAS Possible range: -15 tot +12 Name: Bradburn's `Affect Balance Scale' (modified version)
Author's labelBradburn Affects Balance
Page in publication222
Finding used in
nation ranks

Full textSelfreport on open question: Describe how your life is going, in general at the present time Responses rated negative/ positive taking into account intensity of positive and negative mentions as well as the ratio of positive to negative mentions. 1 negative 2 3 4 5 positive
Author's labelGeneral State of Life
Page in publication222
Error estimatesinterrater reliability .77
Finding used in
nation ranks
 On original range 1 - 5On range 0 - 10
Standard deviation

Correlational findings

Author's labelSubject Code
Subject description
Loss of spouse in traffic accidentL06ab02aDeath of an intimate