Findings on happiness in Palmore (1981): study US 1968

Author(s)Palmore, E.B.
TitleSocial Patterns in Normal Aging: Findings From the Duke Longitudinal Study.
SourceDuke University Press, 1981, Durham, USA
Public46+ aged whites, North Carolina, USA, followed from 1968 to 1976.
Last assesment1974
 T1: 1968; T2: 1970; T3 1972; T4: 1974 Longitudinal study of 11 rounds in 21 years; data from round 1 (T1) and analysia afterwards including data of respondents' age or deceasing (T2).
Survey nameNot available
 Second Duke Longitudinal (or Adaptation) Study. Earlier analyses of this data set reported in PALMO 1972, 1977 and 1979.
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 =375
 Attrition between T1 and T4 25%
Non ResponseNot available
AssesmentInterview: face-to-face
 Whole-day interviews, tests and examinations. Rounds in longitudinal study; examined period: 1968/70 N=502, 1970/72 N= 443, 1972/74 N= 378, 1974/76 N= 375
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 labelhappiness attitude
Page in publication121
Finding used in
nation ranks
 On original range 0 - 9On range 0 - 10
Standard deviation1.40

Full textSelfreport on 8 questions: "During the past week, did you ever feel.....?" A Particularly interested in or excited about something B Pleased about having accomplished something C On top of the world D Pity for some people you know E Helpless, with no control over situations F Bored G Vaguely uneasy about something without knowing why H Angry about something that usually wouldn't bother you Rating options: 0 never 1 once 2 several times 3 often Summation: Factorially derived clusters: A+B+C+D (Enhancement) E+F+G+H (Discomfort) Affect Balance Score: Enhancement minus Discomfort. Possible range: + 16 to - 16 Name: Bradburn's `Affect Balance scale' (modified version)
Author's labelAffect balance
Page in publication117
Finding used in
nation ranks
 On original range -16 - 16On range 0 - 10
Standard deviation2.80

Correlational findings

Author's label Our subject description
change in life satisfactionshow  Past happiness ( 1 to 10 years ago)
later performance status (Physical function)show  Later physical health
later selfrating healthshow  Later physical health
later social activity hoursshow  Later leisure
later social activity hoursshow  Later total social participation, also classified as above ↑
organizational activityshow  Later organizational participation
T1 having a confidentshow  Earlier intimacy
T1 internal controlshow  Earlier inner-control
T1 self rated healthshow  Earlier physical health
T1 sex enjoymentshow  Earlier satisfaction with sex-life