Findings on happiness in Costa & McCrae (1980): study US 1976

Author(s)Costa, P.T.; McCrae, R.R.
TitleInfluence of Extraversion and Neuroticism on Subjective Well-Being: Happy and Unhappy People.
SourceJournal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1980, Vol. 38, 668 - 678
Public35-85 aged white males (largely veterans), USA, 1976
 1976/4 observations at 3 month intervals
Survey nameNot available
SampleNot available
 Non-probability chunk sample. Subsample from a larger sample of volunteers screened for health and geographical stability. Same sample at all 4 time intervals
Respondents N =1100
Non ResponseT1:21%; T2:18%; T3:27%; T4:46%
AssesmentQuestionnaire: paper
 Mailed questionnaire att intervals of 3 months
Happiness measure(s) used
Full textSelfreport on 10 questions, repeated four times at 3 months intervals: "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 labelSubjective well-being; happiness
Finding used in
nation ranks

Correlational findings

Author's labelSubject Code
Subject description
AngerP05aaAggressive, angry
AngerP05aaAggressive, angry
FearP02ab03Earlier anxiety
General emotionalityP05ayEmotional
General emotionalityP02ab10Earlier emotionality
HopelessnessH19abCurrent hope
Life satisfactionL04ad02Satisfaction with multiple domains of life
NeuroticismH13ab02bScores on symptom inventories
NeuroticismH13ab02bScores on symptom inventories
Personal securityL04ac01oSecure (vs threatened)
Poor inhibition of impulseP02ab15Earlier inhibition
Poor inhibition of impulseP05blImpulsive (vs self controlled)
TempoP05daSpeedy, hurried
TempoP02ab27Earlier hurriedness
VigorP02ab31Earlier vigor