Findings on happiness in Spanier & Furstenberg (1982): study US 1977

Author(s)Spanier, G.B.; Furstenberg, F.F.
TitleRemarriage after Divorce: A Longitudinal Analysis of Well-Being.
SourceJournal of Marriage and the Family, 1982, Vol. 44, 709 -720
PublicSeparated, followed 2 years, Pennsylvania, USA, 1977-79
Collect periodspring
Last assesment1979
Last collect periodfall
 T1: spring 1977, T2: fall 1979
Survey nameNot available
SampleNot available
 Non-probability sample: participants were obtained by procuring names and adresses from public documents in the county courthouse, Pennsylvania, of those who had recently separated or divorced. Eligible respondents included persons, still living within 50 miles of the county, who had either 1) filed for divorce, but not yet received a decree 2) obtained a divorce decree, or 3) separated and filed ( or were filed against ) for custody and support. Informally separated individuals, who had not sought custody or support were obtained by the form of sollicitation and through snowball sampling.
Respondents N =210
 T1: 210, T2: 180
Non ResponseT1: 39 %, T2: 48 %
AssesmentInterview: face-to-face
 Structured interview
General remarks37 % of eligible persons contacted, of which 61 % completed the first interview and 52 % also the second. Drop-outs appeared not different on any of the 17 social and demographic variables in this study. T1 data also reported in SPANI 1987. T1 - T2 data also reported in HANSO 1983.
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 labelLife satisfaction
Finding used in
nation ranks

Full textSelfreport on single question: "Taking all things together ( the work you do, where you live, your way of life, the things you do for enjoyment, your health ) how would you say things are these days ...?" 1 very good 2 pretty good 3 so-so 4 not too good 5 not good at all
Author's labelLife satisfaction
Finding used in
nation ranks

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 labelWell-being
RemarksT1: range = 16 - 43, M = 32.9 S.D. = 5.6 T2: range = 16 - 43, M = 32.8 S.D. = 5.2
Error estimatesEquivalence: Cronbachs Alpha = T1:.77 T2:.73
Finding used in
nation ranks

Correlational findings

Author's labelSubject Code
Subject description
Initiation of divorceM03aa01aCharacteristics of earlier marriage-relationship(s)
Initiation of divorceC11aa01Earlier coping, also classified as above ↑
Length of RemarriageM01ab01cRecent re-marriage
Male sexG01aaSex (male vs female)
Presence of childrenin the householdC03ab02Children in the household
Presence of childrenin the householdM01ab02aRecent divorce/separation, also classified as above ↑
Quality of new MarriageM03ab06Tensions in relationship
RemarriageM01ac01cLater re-marriage
Separation aftermathM01ab02aRecent divorce/separation