Findings on happiness in Palmore & Kivett (1977): study US 1968

Author(s)Palmore, E.B.; Kivett, V.R.
TitleChange in Life Satisfaction. A Longitudinal Study of Persons Aged 46 - 70.
SourceJournal of Gerontology, 1977, Vol. 32, 311 - 316
Public46+ aged whites, followed 2 years, USA, 1968-1972/74
Last assesment1974
 T1: 1968/70, T2: 1970/72, T3: 1972/74
Survey nameNot available
 Duke Second Longitudinal (or Adaptation) Study. This study reflects on the first 3 rounds. See also PALMO 1972, 1979 and 1981.
SampleProbability stratified sample
 Within 10 age-sex categories (made up for cross-sequential/longitudinal study therefore greater numbers of older and male subjects) names were drawn from membership of major health insurance company (supplemented with 65+ patients of Medical Center). 52% refused participation, but no differences showed with respondents. 502 Subjects aged 45-69 compared with all whites in U.S. tended to be somewhat above average in health and SES.
Respondents N =378
 T1: 502, T2: 443, T3: 386, T4: 375
Non ResponseNot available
 Attrition between T1 and T3 25%.
AssesmentMultiple methods
 Whole-day interviews, tests and examinations
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 (9) represents the best possible life for you and the bottom (0) represents the worst possible life for you. Where on the ladder do you feel personally stand at the present time? [ 9 ] best possible life for you [ 8 ] [ 7 ] [ 6 ] [ 5 ] [ 4 ] [ 3 ] [ 2 ] [ 1 ] [ 0 ] worst possible life for you Name: Cantril's self anchoring ladder rating of life (adapted version)
Author's labelLife satisfaction
Page in publication374
RemarksT1: M= 7.1, T2: M= 7.2 , T3: M= 7.0
Error estimatesReliabilty (Heise) from crosswave correlations r(T1,T2), r(T1,T3) and r(T2,T3) = +.65
Finding used in
nation ranks
 On original range 0 - 9On range 0 - 10
Standard deviation1.40

Correlational findings

Author's labelSubject Code
Subject description
ageH04ab02Actual changes in happiness
ageA04ab03Age difference among elderly, also classified as above ↑
ageE03ab01baTrend happiness in age groups, also classified as above ↑
Earlier life-satisfactionH04ab01bPast happiness ( 1 to 10 years ago)
Male sexG01aaSex (male vs female)
Organizational activityS07abCurrent organizational participation
Organizational activityS07aa01Earlier organizational participation, also classified as above ↑
Productive hoursT01ad08Time spent on work and care
Selfrated healthH14aa01Earlier physical health
Selfrated healthH14ab02aGlobal health rating, also classified as above ↑
Sexual enjoymentS03aa01bEarlier satisfaction with sex-life
Sexual enjoymentS03ac03Satisfaction with sex-life, also classified as above ↑
Social activity hoursS08abCurrent total social participation
Social activity hoursS08aa01Earlier total social participation, also classified as above ↑
Social activity hoursS06abCurrent contacts
Social activity hoursL03acCurrent leisure activity, also classified as above ↑
Social activity hoursL03aa01Earlier leisure, also classified as above ↑