Findings on happiness in Ardelt (2003a): study US 1997

Author(s)Ardelt, M.
TitleEmperical Assessment of a Three Dimensional Wisdom Scale.
SourceResearch on Aging, 2003, Vol. 25, 275 - 324
Public55+ aged, USA, North-Central Florida, 1997
 -age: range 52 to 87, M(SD)=71(8.02) -gender: 73% woman -race: 72% white -married: 61% married, 30% widowed -16 married couples -retired: 78% -education: 29% haigh school diploma,17% some colleage, 13% bachelor's degree, 31% graduate degree - income: the median $35,000/per year
Survey nameNot available
SampleNon-probability snowball sample
 Drawn from close-knit social groups. Selection variables was age. Using word-of -mouth and the Yellow pages, 38 religious, social, or civic groups that had at least 8 members with minimum age 55 were contacted. Among these, 18 group leaders allowed a researcher to speak to the group members and ask for volunteers for a personality and aging well study.
Respondents N =174
 10 respondants did interview, because they had difficulties reading the questions. All other surveys were returned by mail.
Non Responsedrop out 30%
 in T2-2 follow-up study 123(70%) respondants returned the second questionnaire
AssesmentQuestionnaire: paper
 Mailed questionaire and face-to-face interview
General remarksT1: 180 older adults are questioned with paper by mail or interviewed T2-1: 10 month later, the highest(25% quartile) and the lowest(75% quartile) and the median of the 3Dimension of wisdom at T1 were selected for the qualitative study and interviewed at home. They are asked the most pleasant, unpleasant events during the past week, month, year, and the entire life. And how they dealt with the unpleasant events. T2-2: Follow-up sample who are not selected for the qualitative study are collected by mail 10 months after their first reports.
Happiness measure(s) used
Full textSelfreport on four questions: How have you felt during the past month? A How have you been feeling in general? 6 in excellent spirits 5 in very good spirits 4 in good spirits mostly 3 my spirits have been up and down 2 in low spirits mostly 1 in very low spirits B Have you felt so sad, discouraged, hopeless or had so many problems that you wondered if anything was worthwhile? 1 extremely so, to the point of just about given up 2 very much so 3 quite a bit 4 some, enough to bother me 5 a little bit 6 not at all C Have you felt downhearted or blue 1 all the time 2 most of the time 3 a good bit of the time 4 some of the time 5 al title of the time 6 none of the time D How depressed or cheerful have you been? 0 very depressed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 very cheerful
Author's labelCheerful - Depressed Mood
Error estimatesCronbach's alpha=.83
Finding used in
nation ranks
 On original range 1 - 5On range 0 - 10
Standard deviation0.751.50

Full textSelfreport on single question: "How depressed or cheerful have you been during the past month......?" 0 very depressed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 very cheerful Item in Dupuy's 'General Wellbeing Schedule'
Author's labelDepressed or cheerful
Finding used in
nation ranks
 On original range 0 - 10On range 0 - 10
Standard deviation2.022.02

Full textSelfreport on single question: "How happy, satisfied or pleased have you been with your personal life during the past month? Please circle the number for the one answer that comes closest to the way you have been feeling." 1 extremely happy, could not have been more satisfied or pleased 2 very happy most of the time 3 generally satisfied, pleased 4 sometimes fairly satisfied, sometimes fairly unhappy 5 generally dissatisfied, unhappy 6 very dissatisfied, unhappy most of the time Item in Davies et al (1988) 'Rand Mental Health Inventory'
Author's labelLife satisfaction
Finding used in
nation ranks
 On original range 1 - 6On range 0 - 10
Standard deviation1.581.58

Correlational findings

Author's labelSubject Code
Subject description
wisdomW02abCurrent wisdom