Findings on happiness in Costa et al. (1981): study US 1958

Author(s)Costa, P.T.; McCrae, R.R.; Morris, A.H.
TitlePersonal Adjustment to Aging: Longitudinal Prediction from Neuroticism and Extraversion.
SourceJournal of Gerontology, 1981, Vol. 36, 78 - 85
Public17-97 aged males, visitors of the Gerontology Research Centre, followed 10 years Baltimore, USA. 1958-70
Last assesment1975
 T1:1958-1963, T2:1964-1969, T3:1969-1975
Survey nameNot available
SampleNot available
 Subjects were volunteers, Baltimore USA. 93% were high-school graduates; 96% were white. Ss were asked to fill in the questionnaires at 2 or 3 occasions: The second occasion 2-10 years (mean 5.3) after the first, the third 10-17 (mean 12.6) after the first.
Respondents N =117
 T1: 557, T2: 423, T3: 117
Non ResponseAttrition 79% at T3, mostly among psychologically least adjusted
AssesmentQuestionnaire: paper
 Filled in during visit at Research Centre.
Happiness measure(s) used
Full textSelfreport on single question: How do you feel about what you have accomplished in life...? 3 well satisfied 2 reasonable satisfied 1 dissatisfied:
Author's labelSatisfaction with accomplishments
Error estimatesRetest reliability : - T1-T2 (average 5.3 years) r= +.49 (001) - T1-T3 (average 12.6 years) r= +.46 (001)
Finding used in
nation ranks

Correlational findings

Author's label Our subject description
Extraversionshow  Earlier inner-control
Extraversionshow  Extraverted, also classified as above ↑
Neuroticismshow  Earlier mental health
Neuroticismshow  Earlier psycho-somatic complaints, also classified as above ↑
Neuroticismshow  Neurotic (f48), also classified as above ↑
Neuroticismshow  Scores on symptom inventories, also classified as above ↑
Past contentmentshow  Long term happiness (< 10 years ago)
Past contentmentshow  Past happiness ( 1 to 10 years ago), also classified as above ↑
Thinking introversionshow  Earlier inner-control
Thinking introversionshow  Extraverted, also classified as above ↑