Findings on happiness in Cantril (1965): study US 1959

Author(s)Cantril, H.
TitleThe Pattern of Human Concern.
SourceRutgers University Press, 1965, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
Public21+ aged, general public, USA, 1959
Collect period8
Survey nameNot available
SampleNot available
 Probability sample (see USA sample of CANTR 1965/1).
Respondents N =1549
Non Response-
AssesmentInterview: face-to-face
 Structured interview
General remarksSame data also reported in BORTN 1970, 1972 "N: 1549 (after weighting procedures to get the 'not-at-home' the total number of card-units was 2696)."
Happiness measure(s) used
Full textSelfreport on single question: Here is a picture of a ladder. Suppose we say that the top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom represents the worst possible life for you. Where on the ladder do you feel you personally stand at the present time? [ 10 ] best possible life [ 9 ] [ 8 ] [ 7 ] [ 6 ] [ 5 ] [ 4 ] [ 3 ] [ 2 ] [ 1 ] [ 0 ] worst possible life Preceded by 1) open questions about what the respondent imagines as the best possible life and the worst possible life. 2) ratings on the ladder of one's life five years ago and where on the ladder one expects to stand five years from now. Name: Cantril's self anchoring ladder rating of life (original)
Author's labelHappiness
Page in publication40, 353
DKNA %1.0
Finding used in
nation ranks
 On original range 0 - 10On range 0 - 10
Standard deviation2.242.24

Scores in012345678910

Full textSelfreport on single question : "Some people seem to be quite happy and satisfied with their lives, while others seem quite unhappy and dissatisfied. Now look at this ladder (again). Suppose that a person who is entirely satisfied with his life would be at the top of the ladder and a person who is extremely dissatisfied with his life would be at the bottom of the ladder. Where would you put yourself on the ladder at the present stage of your life in terms of how satisfied or dissatisfied you are with your personal life?" [ 10 ] entirely satisfied [ 9 ] [ 8 ] [ 7 ] [ 6 ] [ 5 ] [ 4 ] [ 3 ] [ 2 ] [ 1 ] [ 0 ] entirely dissatisfied Name Cantril ladder rating (modified version)
Author's labelSatisfaction with life
Finding used in
nation ranks
 On original range 0 - 10On range 0 - 10
Standard deviation2.05

Full textSelfreport on single question: How would you rate yourself as to how successful or unsuccessful you have been in terms of achieving your own goals and aims in life? Think of the top of the ladder as being completely successful, the bottom being entirely unsuccessful [ 10 ] completely successful [ 9 ] [ 8 ] [ 7 ] [ 6 ] [ 5 ] [ 4 ] [ 3 ] [ 2 ] [ 1 ] [ 0 ] entirely unsuccessful
Author's labelSuccess in achieving goals
Finding used in
nation ranks
 On original range 0 - 10On range 0 - 10
Standard deviation2.18

Correlational findings

Author's label Our subject description
Ability to do things oneself to increase satisfactionshow  Inner locus of control
Ageshow  Current age (in years)
Classshow  'Objective' socio-economic status
Confidence in one-selfshow  Self confidence
Educational levelshow  Level of school-education
Enjoyment of previous dayshow  Mood during the interview
Extent of opportunity to do what one likesshow  Amount of restrictions perceived
Feeling that life is full of troubles and obstaclesshow  Easy (vs hard)
Importance of religion in one's lifeshow  Concern about religion
Male sexshow  Sex (male vs female)
Occupationshow  Current occupation
Positive evaluation of present national situationshow  Evaluation of current situation of nation
Religionshow  Current religious denomination
Respect for oneselfshow  Self respect
Satisfaction with lifeshow  O-SL by C-BW
Socio-economic levelshow  Current socio-economic status
Success in achieving goalsshow  C-BW by C-RW
Success in achieving goalsshow  O-SL by C-RW, also classified as above ↑
Urban dwellingshow  Rural vs urban dwelling
White raceshow  Ethnic status in the USA
Worries and fearsshow  Amount of worrying