Findings on happiness in Bortner & Hultsch (1970): study US 1959

Author(s)Bortner, R.W.; Hultsch, D.F.
TitleA Multivariate Analysis of Correlates of Life Satisfaction in Adulthood.
SourceJournal of Gerontology, 1970, Vol. 25, 41 - 47
Public21+ aged, general public, USA, 1959
Collect period8
Survey nameNot available
 Cantril (1965) USA sample
SampleProbability area sample
 Modified probability sample. Test for sample representativiness showed non-significant differences for age, race, economic level and education; overrepresentation of divorced females; underrepresentation of widowed females (as assessed by the 1960 census of the continental United States). Ss lacking identifying demographic data were eliminated.
Respondents N =1301
Non Response9%
AssesmentInterview: face-to-face
 Structured interview
General remarksSame data also reported in Bortner & Hultsch 1972 (not included in this database) and Bortner & Hultsch 1974 (see BORTN 1974).
Happiness measure(s) used
Full textSelfreport on single question : "Some people seem to be quite happy and satisfied with their lives, while others seem quite unhappy and dissatisfied. Now look at this ladder (again). Suppose that a person who is entirely satisfied with his life would be at the top of the ladder and a person who is extremely dissatisfied with his life would be at the bottom of the ladder. Where would you put yourself on the ladder at the present stage of your life in terms of how satisfied or dissatisfied you are with your personal life?" [ 10 ] entirely satisfied [ 9 ] [ 8 ] [ 7 ] [ 6 ] [ 5 ] [ 4 ] [ 3 ] [ 2 ] [ 1 ] [ 0 ] entirely dissatisfied Name Cantril ladder rating (modified version)
Author's labelLife satisfaction
Finding used in
nation ranks
 On original range 0 - 10On range 0 - 10
Standard deviation2.052.05

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 labelSelf preset
Finding used in
nation ranks
 On original range 0 - 10On range 0 - 10
Standard deviation2.262.26

Full textSelfreport on single question: How would you rate yourself as to how successful or unsuccessful you have been in terms of achieving your own goals and aims in life? Think of the top of the ladder as being completely successful, the bottom being entirely unsuccessful [ 10 ] completely successful [ 9 ] [ 8 ] [ 7 ] [ 6 ] [ 5 ] [ 4 ] [ 3 ] [ 2 ] [ 1 ] [ 0 ] entirely unsuccessful
Author's labelSuccess in goals
Finding used in
nation ranks
 On original range 0 - 10On range 0 - 10
Standard deviation2.182.18

Correlational findings

Author's label Our subject description
Ageshow  Current age (in years)
Being more satisfiedwith life than 5 yrsago (retrotension)show  Recent change
Economic levelshow  'Objective' socio-economic status
Educational levelshow  Level of school-education
Efficacyshow  Inner locus of control
Enjoyment of previous dayshow  Yesterday's mood
Expected improv. in life satisf. during next 5 yr protensionshow  In the near future (up to 5 years)
Expected improvementin nat. situation during next 5 yearsshow  Hopes for the nation
Expected life satisfaction 5 years from nowshow  Current hope
Expected life satisfaction 5 years from nowshow  In the near future (up to 5 years), also classified as above ↑
Extent of perceived troubels and obstac-les in lifeshow  Easy (vs hard)
Importance of reli- gion in one's lifeshow  Concern about religion
Life satisfactionshow  O-SL by C-BW
Life satisfaction 5 years agoshow  In recent past
Male sexshow  Sex (male vs female)
Marital statusshow  Married state (compared to non-married states)
Occupational levelshow  Occupational level
Opportunities to do what you would like to doshow  Amount of restrictions perceived
Perceived improve- ment in nat. situat.during past 5 yearsshow  Expected improvement\deterioration of one's nation
Positive evaluation of national situa- tion 5 years agoshow  Perceived earlier situation of nation
Positive evaluation of present national situationshow  Evaluation of current situation of nation
Positive expectat. of national situa- tion 5 yrs. from nowshow  Hopes for the nation
Satisfaction with the way things are going in the USAshow  Satisfaction with life in nation in general
Self-confidenceshow  Self confidence
Self-respectshow  Self respect
Success in achieving goals_Ashow  O-SL by C-RG
Success in achieving goals_Bshow  C-BW by C-RW
White raceshow  Ethnic status in the USA
Worries and fearsshow  Amount of worrying