Findings on happiness in Nelson (1981): study US 1978

Author(s)Nelson, G.
TitleModerators of Womens and Childrens Adjustment Following Parental Divorce.
SourceJournal of Divorce, 1981, Vol. 4, 71 - 83
DOIDOI: 10.1300/J279v04n03_05
PublicRecently divorced women, Manitoba, USA, 1978
Survey nameNot available
SampleNot available
 Non-probability chunk sample using legal records of the local divorce court. The following inclusion criteria were specified a priori : 1) the family must consist of a mother who has been married only once and whose children all fell in the age range of 4 to 14 years old. 2) the women must have been permanently separated from between 5 and 25 months and must not have lived with a man under common law since the separation. Through the divorce court records, 106 divorced families were identified who met the inclusion criteria. 15 divorced families meeting the inclusion criteria were selected for study. There were 16 girls, with an average age of 9.8 years, and 15 boys, with an average age of 8.7 years, in the selected sample. The average age of the divorcees was 31.2 years, and they had been separated from their ex-husbands on the average for 16.5 months. All of the divorced families were white, and most of the divorcees (80%) were employed. All divorcees lived alone with their children. The group was representative of total population.
Respondents N =15
Non Response56%
AssesmentQuestionnaire: paper
 Mailed questionnaire and focused interview
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)
Author's labelEmotional adjustment
Finding used in
nation ranks

Correlational findings

Author's label Our subject description
Current positive feelings about the ex-husbandshow  Coping with divorce/widowhood
Current positive feelings about the ex-husbandshow  Satisfaction with close adult relatives, also classified as above ↑