Findings on happiness in Harkins (1978): study US 1973

Author(s)Harkins, E.B.
TitleEffects of Empty Nest Transition on Self-report of Psychological and Physical Well-Being.
SourceJournal of Marriage and the Family, 1978, Vol. 40, 549 -556
PublicEmpty Nest mothers, USA, 1973-1974
 Durham County, North Carolina, USA. White women married with spouse present, who had no more than three children and whose youngest child was in one of the five high school classes between 1971 and 1975 Ranged in age from 37 to 63 years; M= 49 years, SD=5 years; years of schooling from 6 to 21 years; M= 13,2 years, SD= 2,2 years
 winter 1973-1974
Survey nameNot available
 Health Care Study Center, Batelle Human Affairs Research Centers, Seattle, Washington
SampleProbability multistage stratified area sample
Respondents N =475
Non Response33%
 Lower response rate from mothers whose youngest child graduated in 1972 (60 % response) vs 69 % of the four other classes Analysis for non response bias suggested that respondents were more highly educated than nonrespondents
AssesmentInterview: telephone (CATI)
 Mail survey and telephone follow-ups
Happiness measure(s) used
Full textSelfreport on 10 questions: During the past few weeks, did you ever feel ....? (yes/no) A Particularly excited or interested in something? B So restless that you couldn't sit long in a chair? C Proud because someone complimented you on something you had done? D Very lonely or remote from other people? E Pleased about having accomplished something? F Bored? G On top of the world? H Depressed or very unhappy? I That things were going your way? J Upset because someone criticized you? Answer options and scoring: yes = 1 no = 0 Summation: -Positive Affect Score (PAS): A+C+E+G+I -Negative Affect Score (NAS): B+D+F+H+J -Affect Balance Score (ABS): PAS minus NAS Possible range: -5 to +5 Name: Bradburn's 'Affect Balance Scale' (standard version)
Finding used in
nation ranks

Correlational findings

Author's labelSubject Code
Subject description
AgeA04abCurrent age (in years)
Empty NestC03aa02cLeaving home of children (empty nest)
Empty NestL05ab02Specific life-changes, also classified as above ↑
Empty NestA04aa02Stage of life, also classified as above ↑
Menopausel phaseB03ab04bMenopause
Menopausel phaseA04aa02Stage of life, also classified as above ↑