THE SOCIAL ACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH THE
HAPPINESS AND MlENTAL HEALTH OF PEOPLE
IN THE MIDDLE YEARS AND EARLY OLD AGE
'PSteven D. Wray
A DISSERTATION FRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILILMEN~T OF THE REQ.UIREMCENTS FOR THiE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY'
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
3 1262 08552 8403
The Graduate Students
in the Department of Sociology
Many people have helped throughout my graduate
studies and this dissertation. I would like to thank
Dr. Ruth E. Albrecht, Chairman of my committee, for
introducing me to social gerontology. She has provided
continual encouragement throughout my graduate studies
and has given innumerable suggestions, many hours of
her time and skill, and infinite patience to help me
succeed in my goals.
I am very grateful to Dr. T. Lynn Smith for
giving me a sociological perspective and a model
of professionalism. It is with great appreciation
that I thank the remainder of my committee, Dr.- George
Warheit, Dr. Joseph Vandiver, Dr. Hal Lewis, and Dr.
David Hughes for their counsel and support.
My special gratitude goes to my colleagues
Billy L. Williams and Sharon Woodruff for their valu-
able support during times of extreme stress and at
other times. A special thank you is given to my
friend Jean Sneeringer for her patience, help, and
understanding in the preparation of this manuscript.
I want to thank Dr. George Warheit for his help
and permission to use the Florida Health Study data.
Thanks goes to Charles Holzer for his direction and
assistance through the guidance retrieval system
at "the project." I am indebted and appreciative
of the extraordinary kindness and patience shown
to me by Lynn Robbins in my meanderings through the
data at the Florida Health Project.
I acknowledge and thank the University of Florida
and the Department of Sociology for the computer funds
to help in analyzing the data in this study.
I will forever remember my friends among the
graduate students, secretaries, and faculty of :the
Department of Sociology for the wonderful adventures
that made my graduate studies a joyful experience.
AIcademic study is only one part of an education; it
is the people who make it all worthwhile.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF TABLES ......
II REVIEW OF TH
III DERIVATION O:
VI SUiMMARY AND
APPENDIX A TABLES ...
APPENDIX B QUESTIONS USE:
OF RESULTS .
D IN THE STUDY
LIST OF TABLES
1 AGE AND SEX DISTRIBUTION FOR THE SAM-
PLE AND ALACHUA COUNTY WITH PERCENT
AND NUMBER .. .. .. .. .. . 147
2 AGE AND RACE FOR THE SAMPLE AND ALACHUA
COUNTY WITH PERCENT AND NUMBER . .. 148
3AGE AND RACE FOR MALES IN THE SAMPLE
AND ALACHUA COUNTY WITH PERCENT AND
NUMBER .. .. . .. .... . 149
4 AGE AND RACE FOR FEMALES INTHE SAMPLE
AND ALACHUA COUNTY WITH PERCENT AND
5 HAPPINESS AND MAJOR VARIABLES .. 151
6 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO AGE FOR MALES
AND FEMALES . ... .. . . . 152
7 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO AGE FOR WHITES
AND NONWHITES ....,.. .... 153
8 MEAN HAPPINESS SCORES .. .. .. 154
9 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO RACE FOR SOCIO
ECONOMIC STATUS ..... .. 157
10 HAPPINESS SCORES FOR INCOME, EMPLOYMENT
STATUS, MARITAL STATUS, AND EDUCATION
WITH PERCENT AND NUMBER .. ... 158
11 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO AGE FOR MARITAL
STATUS . . . . . . . 160
12 HAPPINESS FOR MALES AND FEMALES ACCORD-
ING TO MARITAL STATUS . .. ... 162
13 HAPPINESS OjF WHITES AND NONWHITES AC-
CORDING TO MARITAL STATUS ..... 163
LIST OF TABLES
14e HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO MARITAL STATUS
CONTROLLING FOR HIGH AND LOW SOCIO-
ECONOMIC STATUS . ... .. . . 164
15 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO GOOD AND POOR
MARRIED LIFE IN PRESENT FAMILY .. 165
16 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO HOW WELL YOU GET
ALONG WITH YOUR SPOUSE .. .. .. 166
17 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO THE RELATIONSHIP
OF MARRIED RESPONDENTS WITH THEIR CHILD-
REN .. .. .... . .. ... 167
18 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO THE RELATIONSHIP
OF FORMERLY MARRIED RESPONDENTS WITH
THEIR CHILDREN . .. ... .. .. 168
19 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO WHETHER OR NOT
THE RESPONDENT COULD ASK A RELATIVE FOR
HELP . .... ... .. . ... 169,
20 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO WHETHER MORE, THE
SAME, OR FEWER RELATIVES ARE WANTED NEARBY 170
21 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO EMPLOYMENT STATUS
BY AGE .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 171
22 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO EMPLOYMENT STATUS
FOR MALES AND FEMALES .. . ... 173
23 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO EMPLOYMENT STATUS
FOR WHITES AND NONiWHITES .. .. .. 174
24 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO EMPLOYMENT STATUS
FOR HIGH AND LOW SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS 175
25 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO VOLUNTARY AND IN-
VOLUNTARY RETIREMENT .. .. .. .. 176
26 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO SATISFACTION WITH
RETIREMENT FOR MALES AND FEMALES .. 177
LIST OF .TABLES
27 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO SATISFACTION
WITH RETIREMENT FOR WHITES AND NON-
WHITES .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 178
28 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO SATISFACTION WITH
RETIREMENT BY AGE .. ... .. 179
29 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO SATISFACTION WITH
RETIREMENT FOR HIGH AND LOW SOCIOECONOMIC
STATUS ... .. .. .. .. .. .. 180
30 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO HOUSEHOLD INCOME 181
31 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO WHETHER THE EM-
PLOYED THINK THEY RECEIVE A FAIR WAGE 182
32 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO HOW OFTEN THE
EMPLOYED ENJOY THEIR WORK .. .. 183
33 HAPPINESS OF THE EMPLOYED BY WHETHER OR
NOT THEY WANT TO WORK .. .. .. 184
34 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PERCEIVED PHYSICAL
HEALTH .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 185
35 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PERCEIVED PHYSICAL
HEALTH FOR WHITES AND NONWHITES .. 186
36 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PERCEIVED PHYSICAL
HEALTH FOR MALES AND FEMALES .. .. 187
37 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PERCEIVED PHYSICAL
HEALTH FOR RACE AND SEX . .... 188
38 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PERCEIVED PHYSICAL
REALTH BY AGE .. .. .. .. .. 189
39 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PERCEIVED PHYSICAL
HEALTH FOR SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS .. 190
40 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO ACTUAL PHYSICAL
HEALTH PROBLEMS .. .. .. .. .. 191
41 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO ACTUAL PHYSICAL
HEALTH PROBLEMS BY AGE .. .. .. 192
LIST OF TABLES
42 HAPPINESS ACCORDING
HEALTH PROBLEMrS FOR
43 HAPPINESS ACCORDING
HEALTH PROBLEMS FOR
44 HAPPINESS ACCORDING
HEALTH PROBLEMS FOR
45 HAPPINESS ACCORDING
HEALTH PROBLEMS FOR
TO ACTUAL PHYSICAL
WHITES AND NONWHITES
TO ACTUAL PHYSICAL
MALES AND FEMALES
TO ACTUAL PHYSICAL
RACE AND SEX...
TO ACTUAL PHYSICAL
46 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PERCEIVED
HEALTH . . . . . . .
47 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PERCEIVED
HEALTH FOR WHITES AND3 NO~wHITES
48 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PERCEIVED
HEALTH FOR MALES AND FEMALES ..
49 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PERCEIVED
HEALTH FOR RACE AND SEX ....
50 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PERCEIVED
HEALTH BY AGE .........
51 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PERCEIVED
HEALTH FOR SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS
52 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO ANXIETY LEVEL.
53 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO ANXIETY LEVEL
FOR WHITES AND NONWHITES ......
54 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO ANXIETY LEVEL
FOR MALES AND FEMALES. ......
55 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO ANXIETY LEVEL
FOR RACE AND SEX.. ........
56 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO ANXIETY LEVEL
BY AGE .
LIST OF TABLES
57 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO ANXIETY LEVEL
FOR SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS ... . .. 209
58 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO GENERAL PSYCHO:-
PATHOLOGY LEVEL . .. .. . 210
59 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
LEVEL FOR WHITES AND NONWHITES . .. 211
60 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
LEVEL FOR MALES AND FEMALES . .. .. 212
61 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
LEVEL FOR RACE AND SEX .. .. .. 213
62 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
LEVEL BY AGE ,. .. .. .. .. .. 214
63 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
FOR SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS .. ... 215
64 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO COGNITIVE IMPAIR-
MENT LEVEL ,,,. .. .. . 216
65 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO COGNITIVE IMPAIR_
MENT FOR WHITES AND NONWHITES . .. 217
66 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO COGNITIVE IMPAIR-
MENT FOR MALES AND FEMALES . .. .. 218
67 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO COGNITIVE IMPAIR-
MENT FOR RACE AND SEX .. .. .. .. 219
68 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO COGNITIVE IMPAIR-
MENT BY AGE .. ... .. . ... 220
69 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PHOBIA LEVEL .221
70 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PHOBIA LEVEL FOR
WHITES AND NONWHITES .. ... .. 222
LIST OF TABLES
71 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PHOBIA LEVEL FOR
MALES AND FEMALES . .. .. ... 223
72 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PHOBIA LEVEL FOR
RACE AND SEX .. .. .. .. ... 224
73 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PHOBIA LEVEL BY1.
AGE ... .. .. .. ... .. 225
74 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO PHOBIA LEVEL FOR
SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS .. .. .. .. 226
75 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO WHETHER THE RES-
PONDENTS HAVE FRIENDS WITH WHOM THEY CAN
TALK ABOUT PERSONAL PROBLEMS .. .. 227
76 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO WHETHER THE RE-
SPONDENTS HAVE ANY CLOSE FRIENDS WHO
WILL HELP WITH REAL PROBLEMS .. .. 228
77 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO WHETHER THE RE-
SPONDENTS HAVE ANY CLOSE FRIENDS WHO WILL
HELP WITH REAL PROBLEMS FOR WHITE WOMEN 229
78 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO WHETHER THE RE-
SPONDENTS ARE CONCERNED OR UPSET THAT
THEY DO NOT KAVE MORE CLOSE FRIENDS
NEARBY . .. ... .. .. ... 230
79 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO WHETHER THE: RE-
SPONDENTS ARE CONCERNED OR UPSET TRAT
THEY DO NOT HAVE MORE CLOSE FRIENDS
NEARBY FOR MALES AND FEMALES .. .. 231
80 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO WHETHER THE RE-
SPONDENTS ARE CONCERNED OR UPSET THAT
THEY DO NOT HAVE MORE CLOSE FRIENDS
NEARBY FOR RACE AND SEX .. .. .. 232
90 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO THE NUMBER OF
AFTERNOONS AND EVENINGS SPENT AT CLUBS
PER MONTH . . . . . . . .
91 MULTIPLE REGRESSIONS OF PREDICTOR VARIABLES
AND HAPPINESS FOR THE TOTAL POPULATION
LIST OF TABLES
81 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO WHETHER THE RE-
SPONDENTS ARE CONCERNED OR UPSET TRAT
THEY DO NOT HAVE MORE CLOSE FRIENDS
NEARBY BY AGE. ........
82 HAPPINESS ACCORDING TO WHETHER THE RE-
SPONDENTS ARE CONCERNED OR UPSET THAT
THEY DO NOT HAVE MORE CLOSE FRIENDS
NEARBY FOR SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS. .
ACCORDING TO WHETHER THE RE-
ARE ATTENDING CHURCH PRESENTLY
ACCORDING TO MEMBERSHIP IN
ACCORDING TO MEMlBERSHIP IN
ORGANIZATIONS FOR MALES AND
ACCORDING TO MEMBERSHIP IN
ORGANIZATIONS FOR WHITES AND
ACCORDING TO MEMBERSHIP IN
ORGANIZATIONS FOR RACE AND SEX
ACCORDING TO MEMBERSHIP IN
ORGANIZATIONS BY SOCIOECONOMIC
ACCORDING TO MEMBERSHIP IN
ORGANIZATIONS BY AGE ....
LIST OF TABLES
92 MULTIPLE REGRESSIONS OF PREDICTOR VARI-
ABLES AND HAPPINESS FOR AGE GROUPs 45-64
AND 65-74 YEARS .. .. .. .. 24-4
93 MULTIPLE REGRESSIONS OF PREDICTOR VARI-
ABLES AND HAPPINESS FOR SIX AGE GROUPS 245
94 MULTIPLE REGRESSIONS OF PREDICTOR VAR~I-
ABLES AND HAPPINESS FOR MALES AND FEMALES 248
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the
Graduate Council of the University of Florida
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE SOCIAL FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH THE
HAPPINESS AND MENTAL HEALTH OF PEOPLE
IN THE MIDDLE YEARS AND EARLY OLD AGE
Steven D. Wray
Chairman: Ruth E. Albrecht, Ph.D.
Major Department: Sociology
The purpose of this study was to investigate
the major social factors associated with the
happiness and mental health of people in late
middle age and early old age. The data were
collected as part of the Florida Health Study
Program, College of Medicine, University of
Florida. The sample includes 575 adult.res-
pondents from the ages 45 to 74 years. From
the present research it was found that people
in the middle years of life tend to be as happy
as those in the early old age stage of life.
It was also found to be statistically significant
that men are generally happier than women. The
hypothesis that there is no relationship between
the happiness ratings and race when socioeconomic
status is controlled for was found to be true.
By the use of step-wise regression, it was seen
that there was a statistically significant indi-
cation that happiness patterns vary predictably
along age stages that are influenced by different
mental health, physical health, friendship, and
socioeconomic variables for the different age
stages. Mental health as measured by the anx-
iety, .psychopathology, cognitive impairment, and
phobia scales has about the same influence on
happiness scores of people in the middle years
as those in early old age.
This study is an investigation into the
social factors associated with the happiness
and mental health of people in the middle years
and early old age, specifically in the ages 45
to 74 years.
The datawere gathered from interviews
with a random sample of adults living in Alachua
County, Florida. This study is part of the
larger Florida Health Study Program. Out of
a total 1,645 adult respondents, this study
examines the subgroup of 575 people between
the ages of 45 and 74 years old. This group
was selected because it has generally been neg-
lected by investigators in the past. Although
many studies have been done that have used
the concept of happiness, very few have applied
their research abilities to an investigation
of the middle aged population. Investigation
of the charactersitics of mental health for
this group have also been rather neglected.
This study has included the middle aged people
and the early old aged population in order to
be able to study a potentially disrupting
event in the happiness and lifestyles of people
in this age group. Retirement is one eventful
occurrence in the lives of people during this
time and it is important to understand what
social and health factors most influence people's
Some of the questions explored are: Are
middle aged people happier than older people?
Are the mental health measures of anxiety, psy-
chopathology, cognitive impairment, and phobias
more important for their influence on the happiness
of older people than middle aged people? Is
happiness a life pattern that varies predictably
along the age stages? Are men happier than
women? When socioeconomic status is controlled
for, are nonwhites unhappier than whites? In
general, are whites happier than nonwhites?
It is hoped that this study will make a
contribution to filling the gap of knowledge
about happiness and mental health and the social
factors that most influence these variables.
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
The review of the literature is divided into
two sections. The first section is concerned with
tracing, in chronological order, the major defini-
tions and methods used in sociological literature
to study happiness. The studies are examined in
chronological order to show how the research into
"happiness" was built upon the work of earlier authors
and how~ the definition of the concept in question has
developed to its present state.
The sociological, psychological and psychiatric
literature has approached the problem of the study
of "general well-being" with the several labels:
happiness, satisfaction, adjustment, morale and mood.
All of these terms have more or less different inter-
pretations of the target concept. The meaning of
these terms are influenced by the academic background
of the investigators and the method used in each par-
ticular study. This first section gives the specific
definition of happiness as used in this study and indicates
how this concept differs from the related terms used
in other studies. Because of the great number of
investigations concerned with the generally related
concepts, only studies that pertain to "happiness"
and are sociological in nature are reviewed in this
paper. For each study examined, the definition and
the concept of the term used is given and the method
of measuring this chosen variable is indicated.
The second section is a review of the findings
with the major emphasis on age characteristics of
the respondents and how other social characteristics
are associated with mental health and happiness. A
person's socioeconomic status may be highest in late
middle age; early old age is often concerned with
the marital crisis event of widowhood; .. .middle age
is the time when the children leave the family; the
employment status of retirement is associated with
the age 65; the decrease in good physical health
occurs in early old age and sometimes in late middle
age. All of these social characteristics of people
living their lives are reviewed in the explorations
by various sociological studies.
The question of the influence of mental health
on happiness is also reviewed along with an examina-
tion of studies that developed scales for measuring
the mental health of a population.
Finally, there is included a review of the items
contained in this study's scale of happiness. Each
item is matched with the earlier studies that have
also used these questions.
Th onc~pt o Happiness
In the study of the subjects in this age stage,
the occurrences of crises events may cause major
disruptions in a person's happiness with himself
and those around him. These stresses can be exhibited
in mental and physical health problems for people.
To begin with, a review of research studies concerned
with the analysis of the general well being and sat-
isfaction of people's marriages, jobs, retirement,
and other human activities is needed. This first
section reviews the ways researchers have attempted
to study the happiness of a variety of people from
all walks of life.
A landmark study in the area of marriage and
the family was conducted by Ernest Burgess and Leonard
Cottrell (1939). They recognized the importance of
happiness when they wrote that "...happiness is by
common consent the criterion for judging the success
or failure of modern marriage, it is taken as the
point of departure for the evaluation of the success
of the 526 marital unions of our study."l Their
method was to ask the couple to check if their marriage
is very unhappy, unhappy, average, happy, or very
1. Ernest W. Burgess and Leonard S. Cottrell ,
Predicting Success or Failure in Marriage, New York:
Prentice-Hall, 1939, p. 31.
happy. Burgess and Cottrell assumed that the subjects
understood happiness to mean "a state of well-being
characterized by relative permanence, by dominantly
agreeable emotion ranging in value from mere content-
ment to positive felicity, and by a natural desire
for its continuation." The authors believed happi-
ness to be a very subjective concept of a state of
feeling. They claimed that their question was "...a
rather reliable and stable instrument for measuring
differences in the satisfaction or dissatisfaction
of married couples with their union."/ A measure of
happiness will give a reliable index of marital sat-
isfaction, but this is different from the concept of
marital adjustment. Burgess and Cottrell see happi-
ness as a part of marital adjustment.4
A measure of happiness was developed by Hornell
Hart (1940) with his Chart for Happiness. This chart
included several happiness related questions about
feelings of vigor, feelings of guilt, thoughts about
suicide, and satisfaction with one's play activities,
job, and marriage.5 Hart had each subject graph his
3. Ibid, p. 44.
4. Ibid, p. 45.
5. Hornell Hart, Chart For Happiness, New York:
The Macmillian Company, 190
happiness state on a continuum that may range from
+700 (extremely happy) to -700 (extremely unhappy)
for each day of the month over a specified period
of time. The subject also wrote down their reasons
for putting their score on the continuum where they
did. Hart gave two definitions of happiness. The
first was that "...Happiness is the state in which
people are when they say sincerely, 'I am happy,'
and it is the opposite of the state in which they
are when they say sincerely, 'I am unhappy.'"6 This
definition serves operationally as a basis for measure-
ment but it does not provide much insight into what
happiness is. Hart recognized this and gave a second
definition, "Happiness is any state of consciousness
which the person tested seeks to attain or to miain-
tain, and it is the opposite of any state which the
possessor seeks to change or from which he seeks to
escape or withdraw."7 Hart concludes that these two
definitions define the same thing -- happiness. It
is rather obvious from these definitions that Hart
viewed happiness as a state of feeling arrived at
and maintained by a series of adjustments to external
forces. This is similar to Burgess and Cottrell's
6. Ibid, p. 183.
earlier concept of adjustment.
Judson Landis divided the life span into five
periods and asked his elderly subjects which was
the happiest time and why.8 The concept of happiness
did not have to be defined to his subjects and Landis
does not define the term in his article. Dell Lebo
(1942) also fails to define his meaning of happiness
and uses the method of asking his subjects (age 60
and over) whether they are happier or not since the
age of 60.9
Ruth Cavan, E. W. Burgess, R. J. Havighurst,
and H. Goldhammer (1949) looked at happiness as an
indication of an individual's adjustment in different
activities.10 The main limitation in using happiness
as a "criterion of adjustment" is that the term is
so subjective. Cavan et al. concluded that happiness
ratings cannot be the exclusive measure of adjustment,
but "...happiness as an over-all report of personal
adjustment should be useful as an instrument for
determining the validity of an inventory of satisfaction
8. Judson T. Landis, "What is the Happiest Per-
iod in Life?" School and Society, Vol. 55, 1942, p. 644.
9. Dell Lebo, "Some Factors Said to Make For
Happiness in Old Age," Journal of Clinical Psychology,
Vol. 9, 1953, pp. 285-390.
10. Ruth S. Cavan, E. W. Burgess, R. J. Havig-
hurst and H. Goldhamm~er, Personal Adjustmenti l
Age, Chicago: Science Research Associates, 19lC9,
with participation in activities and in status."11
The terms happiness and good adjustment were
used interchangeably by Havighurst and Albrecht (1953)
in their Prarie City study. They state that the terms
have different meanings but "...the personal adjust-
ment of older people depends largely upon their
present happiness, much more than it does for younger
people...01der people have less to work for in the
future and, consequently, their present happiness
is a more important part of their personal adjust-
ment."1 In this study, happiness was a part of their
attitude inventory which, in turn, was part of the
more inclusive concept -- personal adjustment.
Another study that agreed with the definition
of happiness as being the same as satisfaction is
Erwin Fellows' study in 1956. Fellows' method of
measuring happiness was to have his subjects rate
themselves on a five point scale of happiness in
comparison to others their age.13
A new dimension to defining happiness was tried
by Gurin, Veroff and Feld (1960). They "...not only
11, Ibid, p. 108.
12. Robert J. Havighurst and Ruth Albrecht,
Older People, New York: Longmans Green, 1954, p. 52.
13. Erwin Fellows, "A Study of Factors Related
to Happiness," Journal of Educational Research, 1956,
asked people how happy they are but probed for the
sources of happiness and unhappiness."1 Also, they
asked about sources of past unhappiness and anti-
cipation of future happiness. Gurin et al. there-
fore defined happiness for each person as the stated
sources of happiness of the individual. Maybe an
individual can find feelings of happiness in the
enjoyment of material objects but these are sources
of pleasure and not definitions of the subjective
concept happiness. When happiness was discussed,
it is under the chapter heading of general adjust-
ment and therefore it should be concluded that Gurin
et al. thought of happiness as part of the concept
No definition of happiness was used by H. Meltzer
(1962)15 in his study of older workers. Meltzer
divided the life span into age spans and asked his
subjects to select their best and worst years and
rank order the five given age spans. Meltzer later
(1963) stated that happiness is just one of several
14. Gerald Gurin, Joseph Veroff, and Sheila
Feld Americans View Their Mental Health: A Nation-
Wide_1nteryggg_ Stdy, New York: Basic Books, Inc.,
15. H. Meltzer, "Age Differences in Status
and Happiness of Workers," Geriatrics, Vol. 17, 1962,
related life adjustment factors.16 Raymond Kuhlen
(1964) agreed with the idea that a person cannot be
"...well adjusted unless he is reasonably happy and
contented ."17 Kuhlen further says that the only way
to discover if a person is happy is to ask him.
A self-reported level of happiness was also con-
sidered by Norman Bradburn and David Caplovitz (1965)
as the best approach to measuring happiness. They
asked their subjects, "Taking all things together,
how would you say things are these days -- would you
say you are very happy, pretty happy, or not too
happy?"8 The answer was considered to be an esti-
mate of the respondent's present over-all sense of
well-being, or distress. By examining other variables
that influence happiness, Bradburn and Caplovitz con-
cluded that "...happiness is not a simple phenomenon
that can be understood in terms of a single dimension,
but rather a complex resultant of the satisfactions
and dissatisfactions, the gratifying and frustrating
emotional experiences that occur in a person's life
16. H. Meltzer "Age Differences in Happiness
an LfeAdusmet f Workers," Journal of Gerontology,
Vol. 18, 1963, pp. 66-70.
17. Raymond G. Kuhlen, "Developmental Changes
in Motivation During the Adult Years," in B. Neugarten
(editor), Middle Age and Aging, Chicago, Illinois:
The University of Chicago Press, 1968, p. 125.
18. Norman Bradburn and David Caplovitz, Reports
on Happiness, Chicago, Illinois: Aldine Press, 1965.
situation."1 Happiness is therefore conceptualized
as mostly an internal feeling; it is viewed as more
than what is meant by satisfaction; and to understand
happiness, both positive and negative fractions of
the emotional continuum must be included in the defin-
it-ion. This conceptualization is similar to Golding's
(1954) idea of a continuum of hedonic effect.
A new approach to measuring happiness was created
by Hadley Cantril (1965) with his Self-Anchoring Scale.
This scale is a ladder with the rungs numbered from
0 to 10. After showing and explaining the ladder
to the subject, the questioner would say,
Some people seem to be quite happy and
satisfied with their lives, while others
seem quite unhappy and dissatisfied.
Now, look at the 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 own personal life? 20
The example inquired about life satisfaction but
it would be just as easy to ask about job satisfac-
tion or marital satisfaction, etc.
19. Ibid, p. 8.
20. Hadley Cantril, The Pattern of Human Concerns,
New Brunswick, Njew Jersey: Rutgers University Press,
1965, p. 265.
Cantril viewed the terms happiness and satisfac-
tion as almost the samne concept. He stated that,
"Sa-tisfaction- comes from attaining a goal through
action based on choice -- a never-ending process of
transforming a potential desire into an experiential
raiy"21 Becoming satisfied because of success
in what a person chooses to do is no great revelation.
This conceptualization is completely in line with
psychologists' work in personal adjustment, or Havig-
hurst's concept "successful aging" and Neugarten,
Havighurst and Tobin's definitions used in their Life
Cantril's method is a distinct improvement on
the self-report method of measuring satisfaction,
but it is primarily concerned with the present. There
may be a difference between a presently satisfied
person who expects things to become terrible in the
future and a presently satisfied person who expects
things to improve considerably in the future. These
people could have the same score on Cantril's Ladder
but different types of subjective satisfaction.
Kurt Back and Kenneth Gergen (1966) used the
term happiness interchangeably with the term morale
and, therefore, it must be assumed that they saw
no significant difference in the meaning of the terms.
21. Ibid, p. 274.
Their method was to directly ask the respondent if
he would be happier doing something else. The respon-
dent could answer yes or no. From their study Back
and Gergen concluded that "...the question of morale
(or happiness) of the aged is meaningless, because
morale and aging are both complex phenomena."22
Overall happiness is conceptualized by Paul
Cameron (1967) "...as consisting of a preponderance
of moods of happiness over moods of sadness."2
Cameron saw the concept as an intricate interrela-
tionship of happiness, morale, and ego-strength that
can be examined by studying the smaller units of
positive and negative moods. Cameron used the Barron
Ego-Strength Scale and the Zazlow Picture Sequence
Scale to measure happiness.
Derek Phillips (1967) also used the self-report
method of measuring happiness. He asked his subjects,
"Taken altogether, how would you say things are these
days -- would you say that you are very happy, pretty
22. Kurt W. Back and Kenneth J. Gergen, "Personal
Orientation and Morale of the Aged," in Ida Harper
Simpson and John C. McKinney (editors), SocialAspects
of Aging, Durham, North Carolina: Duke University
Press, 1966, pp. 304-305.
23. Paul Cameron, "Ego Strength and Happiness
of the Aged," Journal of Gerontology, Vol. 22, No. 2,
April, 1967, pp. 199-202.
happy, or not too happy?"24 Phillips saw satisfaction
as the main attribute of happiness but he cautioned
against the examination of only the negative or only
the positive experiences and feelings of the respon-
dents. Happiness therefore can only be studied if
both ends of the emotion continuum are included in
By 1972 Paul Cameron had deviated slightly from
his position of moods as an adequate measure of hap-
piness and had modified his method to asking specific
questions of the respondents about their level of
happiness in comparison to "...all other adults of
your sex."25 Therefore Cameron now accepts the self-
report method of measuring happiness as a better
For other researchers the problem of a concept
of happiness does not exist. David Schonfield (1973)
states that "ratings for happiness hardly require
justification..."26 William Martin (1973) did not
24C. Derek L. Phillips, "Mental Health Status,
Social Participation, and Happiness," Journal of
Health and Social Behavior, Vol. 8, 1967, pp.285-291.
25. Paul cameron, "stereotypes About Generational
Fun and Happiness vs. Self-Appraised Pun and Happiness,"
Gerontologist, Vol. 12, Summer, 1972, Part I, pp. 120-
26. David Schonfield, "Future Commitments and
Successful Aging I. The Random Sample," Journal of
Gerontology, Vol. 28, No. 2, 1973, pp.189-196.
define happiness in his study: but did equate satis-
faction w~ith hrappiness.27
Happiness has been conceptualized as a subpart
of the concept mood, adjustment, morale, and satis-
faction. At times mood, morale and satisfaction
have all been considered to be a subpart of happiness.
Most of the time the investigators adequately reported
what they meant by their variable but there was no
general agreement as to how happiness should be
The terms that have been associated with happiness
can be divided into the implied action terms of ad-
justment and adaptation and the more subjective
feeling or emotional terms of happiness, satisfaction,
morale and mood.
Adjustment is the more or less systematic series
of actions by an individual in trying to successfully
achieve an adaptation.
Adaptation is the changing of a person's views
of what makes him happy to conform to what society's
view of happiness should be for his position in his
life cycle. An individual may be infatuated with
27. William C. Martin, "Activity and Disengage-
ment: Life Satisfaction of In-Movers into a Retirement
Community," Gerontologist, Vol. 13, Summer, 1973, pp.
his teddy bear at the age of three, but by the age
of forty, teddy bears cannot make him as happy as
they did earlier in his life. He feels compelled
to change his wishes or desires to goals that society
feels are more valuable. People have the ability
to adapt in differing degrees; it is something that
must be learned. If an individual has succeeded in
adapting to his environment and achieves a happiness
state, then he is aging successfully,
In other words, several adjustments make up an
adaptation and several adaptations make up successful
To begin to adjust there must be a goal worth
adjusting to. "One of the strangest, least interpret-
able symptoms of our time is the neglect by psycholo-
gists (and sociologists) of the problem of happiness,
that inner state which Plato, Aristotle, and almost
all succeeding thinkers of the first rank assumed to
be 'the highest of all goods achievable by action.'"28
Happiness is therefore considered to be the goal of
all mankind. What is happiness? William McDougall
(1921) discarded the philosophical idea of happiness
as merely the sum of a person's pleasures. He finally
described the nature of happiness by writing:
.28, Henry Murray, ?'Towards a Classification of
Interactions," in Tow~ard a General Theor of Action,
by Talcott Parsons and Edward A. Shils (editors),
Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press,
1951, pp. 455-456.
Happiness arises from the harmonious
operation of all sentiments of a well-
organized and unified personality, one
in which the principal sentiments sup-
port one another in a succession of
actions all of which tend towards the
same or closely allied and harmonious
ends. Hence the richer, the m~ore highly
developed, the more completely unified
or integrated is the personality, the
more capable is it of sustained happi-
ness in spite of inter-current pains
of all sorts. 29
Happiness is the feeling during the striving for
and more or less achieving of the goals set by oneself.
Why was the term happiness chosen to represent
the concept of the goal of adjustment? The terms
mood, satisfaction, and morale have been used by
many other investigators and many have used the four
terms interchangeably. Some have said that happiness
and morale are subparts of satisfaction; others have
declared that satisfaction is a subpart of happiness
and still others see all these as subparts of "elation."
The investigators have a similar concept in mind
but they cannot agree on the same term to describe
it. They do generally agree that the concept is an
inner or psychological feeling of well-being that
incorporates a need for the individual to adjust in
order to achieve his goals. To call the concept
"overall psychological well-being" is too awkward and
29. William McDougall, An Introduction to Social
Psychology, Boston, Massachusetts: John W. Luce and
Co., 1926, p. 161.
too general in nature. So another term is sought
and the more popular ones are mood, satisfaction,
morale, and happiness.
Most of the studies have recently agreed that
mood is not an acceptable term. Moods are affective
states that vary within short time periods. Moods
change too often and too quickly for the concept in
mind; the concept we are interested in is a stable
state of mind. The term most often chosen is "satis-
faction." But "satisfaction" like "contentment" de-
notes a feeling that the subject has achieved the
goal he has set out for and does not really want
something more. The actual concept includes a con-
tinual interaction between an individual's subjective
feelings and his exterior environment. This implies
that the feeling part of the concept cannot be com-
pletely achieved. This would mean that the concept
refers to the entire positive side of the continuum,
including the theoretically impossible positive end
of the pole. Both "morale" and "happiness" have
been used to describe this. The dictionary defines
morale as: "In any group, the group members' atti-
tudes toward the group and its goals, A) high morale
denoting generally favorable attitudes, belief that
the group will eventually be successful, and B) low
morale denoting generally unfavorable attitudes and
a sense of defeatism or antagonism relative to the
The difference between morale and happiness is
that morale refers to the group's attitudes and goals,
while happiness is more of an individual's attitude
So, in this study, the term "happiness" will be
used to refer to the concept that means an overall
psychological and social well-being in interaction
with the external world. Happiness is multidimensional
but not enough is known to specifically describe the
nature of the dimensions. Happiness is necessarily
a function of how the individual perceives his overall
feelings at any specified point in time.
The recent developments in the study of happiness
have centered around the work of three groups of in-
vestigators. By far the most significant work in
happiness has been and is being done at the University
of Chicago studies of personality and adjustment.
This group includes the work of Cavan et al. (1949),
Burgess and Cottrell (1939), Havighurst and Albrecht
(1953), Cumming and Henry (1961); and Neugarten (1964).
Havighurst (1968) and Neugarten (1964) are still ac-
tively pursuing new theoretical areas of the happiness
30. Thomas Ford Hoult, Dictionary of Modern
Sociology, Totowaa, New Jersey: Littlefield, Adams
and Company, 1972, p. 209.
Gurin, Veroff, and Feld (1.960) published an ex-
cellent book about their mental health study of 2,400
adults. They emphasized the role of health in happi-
ness and pointed out numerous variables that are
related to happiness. The degree of the relationships
were not reported.
Hadley Cantril (1965) has developed a short and
easy method of measuring happiness with his self-
anchoring ladder technique. The technique can be.
applied internationally and is easily adapted to
measure happiness on any subject. The only change
that has tobe made is to change the name of the title
on the ladder. This is the best devised self-report
method and is gaining adheren-ts each year.
The next step is to expand the study of happi-
ness to an international audience. It may be that
happiness is more likely to occur in certain countries.
The question always exists, "Do the relationships
between happiness and other variables continue over
Review of the Findings in the Literature
The first part of this section traced the devel-
opment of the major conceptual forms that are related
to happiness. Then definitions of terms that are
used in this study were given. Part one also re-
viewed the methodsused in the various studies. This
next section is concerned with the presentation of
the findings and conclusions of the major studies
that pertain to the specific interests of this study.
Age and Happiness
As early as 1949 Cavan, Burgess, Havighurst,
and Goldhammer found that increased age is associated
with a "...decrease in feelings of happiness, useful-
ness, zest and a corresponding increase in lack of
interest in life."31 There are many other studies
that discovered increasing age to be a negative in-
fluence on happiness: Lebo,32 Gurin et al,,3 Bradburn
and Caplovitz, Cameron,5 and Maddox. Sri
and Schneider also agreed but they said that the
negative effect is slight.3 Alston (1973) found
that "...as age increases the proportion of people
who feel that life is not exciting also increases
31. Cavan et al., 1949, p. 60.
32. Dell Lebo, 1953, P. 387.
33. Gurin et al., 1960, p. 50.
34. Bradburn and Caplovitz, 1965, p. 10.
35. Paul cameron, 1967, p. 202.
36. George Maddox, "Fact and Artifact: Evidence
Bearing on Disengagement Theory from the Duke Geri-
atric Project," Human Development, Yolume 8, 1965,
37. Gordon F. Streib and Clement J. Schneider,
Retirement in American Society: Impact and -Process,
New York: Cornell University Press, 1971, p. 161.
significantly." But Alston also said that "...the
higher income groups have a much larger proportion
of older people who find life exciting."3
Those that found happiness increasing with age
were Connelly, 1970,40 and Meltzer, 1963.111 Some
researchers found happiness increasing at various
age levels. Back and Bourque, 1970, concluded that
"...happiness increases with age until approximately
55 years of age, at which point happiness gradually
declines."42 In their study of eighty-seven. older
men, Reichard et al. saw that "...adjustment had im-
proved in later years." But they indicate that
38. Jon P. Alston and Charles Dudley, "Age, Occu-
pation, and Life Satisfaction," Gerontologist_, Volume
13, Spring, 1973, pp. 58-61.
39. Ibid, p. 60.
40. John Connelly, "Age Trends and Interrela-
tionships of Life Satisfaction, Job Satisfaction,
and Marital Satisfaction," Unpublished Doctoral
Dissertation, Department of Child Development and
Family Relationships, Pennsylvania State University,
41. H. Meltzer, 1963, p. 70.
42. Kurt Back and Linda Bourque, "Life Graphs:
Aging and Cohort Effect," Journal of Gerontoloy
Volume 25, Number 3, 1970, pp. 24c9-255.
43. Suzanne Reichard, Florine Livson, and Paul
Petersen, "Adjustment to Retirement," in Middle Age and
Aging, by Bernice Neugarten (editor), Chicago: Uni-
versity of Chicago Press, 1968, pp. 178-180.
there is a fluctuation in happiness over age when
happiness declines just before retirement and im-
proves afterwards. Kerckhoff, 1964, indicated that
satisfaction for males rose after the first five years
of retirement and then fell.
Finally, there are investigators that concluded
that there is no correlation between age and happi-
ness. Maddox, 1964, found that morale scores for
older subjects were not lower than those for younger
subjects.5 Bortner and Hul~tsch, Palmore and
Luikrartb Edwards and Klee mnack,lL and Mar~tin4
all concluded that theirs no correlation between
age and happiness.
44. Alan Kerckhoff, "Husband-Wife Expectations
and Reactions to Retirement," Journal of Gerontoloy
Volume 19, Number 4, October, 1964, p. 516
45. George Maddox, "Activity and Morale: A
Longitudinal Study of Selected Elderly Subjects,"
Social Forces, Volume 42, 1964, p. 199.
46. Rayman Bortner and David Hultsch, "A Multi-
variate Analysis of Correlates of Life Satisfaction
in Adulthood," Journal of Gerontology, Volume 25,
Number 1, January, 1970, p. 47.
47. Erdman Palmore and Clark Luikart, "Health and
Social Factors Related to Life Satisfaction," Journal
of Health and Social Behavior, Volume 13, 1972, p. 78.
48. John Edwards and David KleCmmck, "Correlates
of Life Satisfaction: A Re-Examination," Journal of
Gerontology, Volume 28, Number 4, 1973, p. 501.
49. William Martin, "Activity and Disengagement:
Life Satisfaction of In-Movers Into a Retirement Com-
munity," Gerontologist, Volume 13, Summer, 1973, pp.
Age Trends an~d Happiness
Most studies do not investigate and compare small
age groupings in their sample to ascertain the happi-
ness patterns throughout life. Only a few studies
hnave expressed enough curiosity to publish their
results along these lines.
Cavan, Burgess, Havighurst, and Goldhammer50
looked at the five year age groups from age 60 to 74
and found that happiness for both males and females
steadily decreases at each higher age level.
Gurin et al. isolated two age groups and dis-
covered that 34 percent of the population aged 45
to 54 think of themselves as very happy but only 27
percent of the population over age 55 rank themselves
as very happy.51
Britton and Britton, 1972, reported in their
longitudinal study about 46 men and women over 65
years of age that the percent of men who rated them-
selves as very happy decreased from 18 percent to 13
percent in a six year period but increased to a high
of 25 percent three years later. The percent of women
rated as very happy steadily decreased from 36 percent
50. Cavan et al., 1949, p. 43.
51. Gurin, Veroff, and Feld, 1960, p. 43.
to a low of only 10 percent nine years later.2 So,
the percentage of very happy men reached a high in
their older years and the percentage of very happy
women greatly decreased during the same time.
Tallmer and Kutner, 1970, reported that the
pattern of morale is different for men and women.
"Between the ages of 50 and 64 years of age morale
increases in men but declines in women.n5
Connelly, 1970, used Cantril's ladder to deter-
mine satisfaction and found that the highest life
satisfaction average was for those people 65 years
of age and the next highest was-the people 55 years
old. The most satisfied were people 55 years and
over when compared to people in their twenties,
thirties, and forties.5
Of people over 45 years of age, Spreitzer and
Snyder, discovered that the percentage of very happy
women was greater than the percent of very happy men
until age 65. In the age group 65 to 74 years, the
percent of very happy men suddenly increased and the
52. Joseph Britton and Jean Britton, Personality
Changes in Aging: A Longitudinal Study of Community
Residents, New Yiork, New York: Springer Publishing
Co., Inc., 1972.
53. Margot Tallmer and Bernard Kutner, "Disen-
gagement and Morale," Gerontologist, Vol. 10, Part I,
Winter, 1970, p. 318.
54. Connelly, 1970, p. 55.
percentage of very happy women just as dramatically
decreased. Past the age of 70 years, the per cent
of very happy men declined to its pre-retirement level
but there was no increase for women in this later age
group. They stayed at their very low level.55
These few studies did not agree on how happiness
fluctuates with age but they all agreed that there
are some intervening variables that do cause happi-
ness levels to vary for different ages.
Sex and Happiness
There is no study that concludes that women are
generally happier than men. There are a few studies
that found certain subpopulations of women happier
than similar subpopulations of men. Gurin et al.
said that "...single women are happier and worry more
than single men."56 Bradburn and Caplovitz stated
that single men are "...twice as likely as single
women to report being 'not so happy.'"57
Several studies reported that women are less
happy than men, Cavan et al.,5 Lebo, 195315 ui
55. Elmer Spreitzer and Eldon Snyder, "Correlates
of Life Satisfaction Among the Aged," Journal of Geron-
tology, Volume 29, Number 4, 1974, p. 456.
56. Gurin, Veroff, and Feld, 1960, p. 233.
57. Bradburn and Caplovitz, 1965, p. 13.
58. cavan et al., 1949, p. 61.
59. Dell Lebo, 1953, p. 387.
et al., 19160,60 and Kutner et al., 1956.61 But most
studies concluded that there is no real difference
in the happiness scores for males and females. Brad-
burn and Caplovitz,6 Alsbton,6 Palmore and Luikart,
Cameron,5 and Hartmann, agreed that "...there is
no reliable difference between the averages for the
sexes..." but he said that women ...are more likely
to experience both the heights and depths of the hap-
Race and Happiness
Only one study has been conducted that considers
the race of the respondents and their reported happi-
ness. Elizabeth Stojanovic, Marion Loftin and Walter
Drapald (1972) found that "...the morale score of the
60. Gurin, Veroff, and Feld, 1960, p. So.
61. Bernard Kutner, David Fanshel, Alice Togo,
and Thomas Langner, Five Hundred Over Sixty, New York:
Russel Sage Foundation, 1956, p. 51.
62. Bradburn and Caplovitz, 1965, p. 10.
63. Alston and Dudley, 1973, P. 59
64. Palmore and Luikart, 1972, p. 78.
65. Cameron, 1972, p. 190.
66. George Hartmann, "Personality Traits Asso-
ciated with Variations in Happiness" Journal of
Abnormal Social Psychology, Volume 34, 1934, p. 209.
black women was significantly higher than that of
the white women." Their measurement of morale
was Cantril's ladder.
Socioeconomic Status and Happiness
All the studies that have been considered in
this paper agree that happiness and socioeconomic
status are positively related. Kutner, 1956, con-
cluded that SES (along with health) is probably
directly linked with happiness. The greatest
value of variables like socioeconomic status is that
they are indices of discrimination between different
" ...life styles, values, status and role relations
and expectations."70 Adams, 1971,71 Cutler, 1973,2
Strib,195,73Edwards and Klemmack, .1973,7 Lebo,
68. Elizabeth Stojanovic, Marion Loftin, and
Walter Drapald, "Activity and Morale Among Aged Rural
Women," Ne.TGeront.,fol. 3, No. 1, 1972, p. 35.
69. Kutner et al., 1956. pp. 52-54
70. David Adams, "Analysis of a Life Satis-
faction Index," Journal of Gerontology, Volume 24~,
Number 4, 1969, p. 6
72. Stephen Cutler, "Voluntary Association Par-
ticipation and Life Satisfaction: A Cautionary
Research Note," Journal of Gerontology, Vol. 28,
No. 1, p. 99.
73. Gordon Streib, "Morale of the Retired,"
Social Problems, Vol. 3, 1956, p. 276.
74. Edwards and Klemmack, 1973, pp. 501-502.
1953,75 Kratcoski, 1974,7 Kerokhoff, 1964,7 Pollman,
1 71, Aso,1 73 Bortner and Hultsch, 1970,80
Maddox, 1968.81 Spreitzer and Snyder, 1974,82 and
Cameron, 1972, all concluded that the higher socio-
economic class has the greater happiness scores.
Some investigators examined education and income
apart from SES and found the same positive relation-
ship with happiness. Palmore and Luikart, 1972,
found that "...income and education were more strongly
related to satisfaction among those with below average
75. Dell Lebo, 1953, PP. 386-387.
76. Peter Kratcoski, James Hiuber, and Ruth Favlak,
"Retirement Satisfaction Among Emeritus Professors,"
Industrial Gerontologyr, Vol. 1, No. 1, Winter, 1974,
77. Kerckhoff, 1964, p. 516.
78. William Pollman, "Early Retirement: Rela-
tionship to Variation in Life Satisfaction," Geron-
tologist, Yol. 2, Spring, 1971, Part I, p. 46.
79. Alston and Dudley, 1973, p. 60.
80. Rayman Bortner and David Hultsch, "A Multi-
variate Analysis of Correlates of Life Satisfaction
in Adulthood," Journal of Gerontology, Vol. 25, No. 1,
January, 1970, p. 47.
81. George Maddox, "Persistence of Life Style
Among the Elderly: A Longitudinal Study of Patterns
of Social Activity in Relation to Life Satisfaction,"
in Middle Age and Aging, by Bernice Neugarten (editor),
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968, p. 331.
82. Spreitzer and Snyder, 1974, p. 458.
83. Cameron, 1972, p. 190.
incomes." Bradburn and Caplovitz, 1965, saw a
"...strong positive correlation between both educa-
tion and income..."85 Alston and Dudley, 1973, con-
cluded that the higher income groups have a much
larger proportion of older people who find life
exciting than the lower or middle income groups.8
Edwards and Klemmack, 1973, went so far as to say
that "...family income, in particular, is the single
most important variable in explaining reported sat-
isfaction."8 Bradburn and Caplovitz would not go
as far as Edwards and Klemmack with their praise of
family income as an explaining variable; they did
report that "...at every level of education making
more money is associated with being happier, but
having more education is not always related to being
happier. Education and happiness are positively
related for the majority of the sample, who earn
less than $7,000 a year, but negatively related
among the wealthier people..." Martin, 1973,
was the only investigator to venture the opinion
that the correlation between years of education and
84. Palmore and Luikart, 1972.
85. Bradburn and Caplovitz, 1965, P. 10.
86. Alston and Dudley, 1973, p. 60.
87. Edwards and Klemmack, 1973, p. 501.
88. Bradburn and Caplovitz, 1965, p. 10.
satisfaction is not significant. But he qualified
this finding by suggesting that the respondent's
"...uniformly high education may have restricted
the variation of satisfaction."8
Marital Status and Hanpiness
Being married is usually found to contribute
to the chances for happiness. Martin, 1973, found
a positive relationship ef marriage iso life satis-
faction. Kutner et al. (1956) report that "...married
older people tend to be better adjusted than single
people and the widowed occupy an intermediate posi-
tion."90 They also found that "...as the length of
widowhood increases, there is a rise in morale until
it reaches a level approximately that of the married
women."91 Bradburn and Caplovitz, 1965, reported
that "...respondents who are not married are con-
siderably less happy than those who are."92 They
indicated that married women are only slightly higher
in their reported happiness. An interesting con-
clusion is that "...being married is, in fact, more
89. Martin, 1973.
90. Kutner et al., 1956, p. 67.
92. Bradburn and Caplovitz, 1965, p. 13.
important for the happiness of men than of women." 3
Lebo, 1953, discovered that the unhappiest group
were the widowed. "The happier old people lived
with their spouse, friends, or relatives to a signif-
icantly greater extent than did the unhappy group."94
Both Lopata, 1968,95 and Lowenthal, 1965,96 agreed
that widowhood is negatively related to happiness.
Cavan reported the crisis of widowhood as
probably "...the most, drastic and widespread ad-
justment which old women must make...."19 Guin
et al., 1960, said that although the divorced or
separated women "...are only slightly less happy
than men in the same position, for all other marital
status groups women are happier than men." Hansen
et al., 1962, disagreed with Gurin and others by
concluding that favorable adjustment to aging was
shown to occur most frequently among women and the
94. Lebo, 1953, P. 387.
95. Helena Lopata, Occupation: Housewife, New
York: Oxford University Press, 1971.
96. Marjorie Lowenthal and Deetje Boler, "Yol-
untary Vs. Involuntary Social Withdrawal," Journal of
Gerontology, Vol. 20, 1965, pp. 363-371.
97. Cavan et al., 1949, pp. 60-61.
98. Gurin, Veroff, and Feld, 1960, p. 115.
married.9 Logically, the conclusion of Hansen et
al. is surprising. Burgess and Cottrell, 1939, found
that "...A~merican wives make the major adjustment
in marriage."0 If women make the major adjust-
ments, then there are more chances for them to fail.
Therefore, women should have a harder time in being
happy with their marriage than men. So, males should
have the larger positive correlation with marriage
Two studies found no relationship between mari-
tal status and happiness: Palmore and Luikart, 1972,10
and Edwards and Klemmack, 1973-12
Children may be a positive influence on happi-
ness as people age. Albrecht, 1951, found that "...
old people who were parents rated higher than average
in mean adjustment."0 Even if children are a blessing,
99. Gary Hansen, Samuel Yoshioka, Maurice Taves,
and Frances Caro, "Older People in the Midwest: Condi-
tions and Attitudes," in OlderPeople and hi Social
World, by Arnold Rose and Warren Peterson (editor)
Ph~iladelphia, Pennsylvania: F. A. Davis Co., 1965,
100. Burgess and Cottrell, 1939, p. 349.
101. Palmore and Luikart, 1972, p. 78.
102. Edwards and Klemmack, 1973, p. 501.
103. Ruth Albrecht, "The Social Roles of Old
People," Journal of Gerontology, Vol. 6, 1951. P.
it is best .that they do not live nearby. Kerc~khoff,
1966, noticed that "...wives whose children on the
average lived farther away had higher morale than
wives whose children lived closer."0 Also, "...
high morale is associated with low expectations of
the parent-child relationship. We have found that
high levels of mutual support are associated with
lowlevlsof morale."0 From this Kerckhoff sug-
gested that a nuclear family is associated with higher
levels of morale than extended families after retire-
ment.10 Townsend, 1963, also found that living
independently from the family is more conducive to
happiness.10 Martin, 1973, went further by sug-
gesting that "...maintenance of the family" has
no correlation with satisfaction.10 Edwards and
Klemmack, 1973, go on to say that "familial partici-
pation" is not significantly associated with life
10.Alan Kerckhoff, "Family Patterns and Morale
in Retirement," in Social Aspects of Aging~, by Ida
Harper Simpson, and John C. McKinney (editors), Durham,
North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1966, p. 192.
105. Ibid, p. 184.
106. Ibid, p. 193.
107. Peter Townsend, The Family Life of Old
People, Baltimore, Maryland: Penguin Books, 1963.
108. Martin, 1973.
satisfaction.109 In general, Gurin et al. summed
things up by saying, "...married respondents report
feeling happier than those who are unmarried, and
the difference is a sharp one for both men and
Employment and Happiness
Investigators agree that employment is posi-
tively related to happiness. Palmore and Luikart,
19r72, saw that employment is "...significantly asso-
ciated with satisfaction among men, but not among
women."111 Meltzer, 1963, found that work is more
significant to a person as he gets older.11 Rose,
1955, also found that employment is related to
happiness.11 Bradburn and Caplovitz concluded that
"...a man's employment status does indeed make a
considerable difference in reported happiness...
work is of crucial importance to the happiness of
109. Edwards and Klemmack, 19731 P. 502.
110. Gurin, Veroff, and Feld, 1960, p. 232.
111. Palmore and Luikart, 1972, p. 78.
112. H. Meltzer, 1963, p. 70.
113. Arnold Rose, "Factors Associated With
Life Satisfaction of Middle-Class, Middle-Aged
Persons," Journal of Marriage and Family Living,
Vol. 17, 1955, p. 19.
men."1 Women, on the other hand, seem to be about
equally happy whether or not they choose to take on
a work role; however, those women who desire a work
role and have been unable to find employment, or
have been forced to retire, are more likely to be
unhappy. 15Rose, 1955, made a different interpre-
tation by hypothesizing "...that the life satisfac-
tion of middle class women as they enter middle age
is a function of the degree to which they are able
to assume another central role to substitute for
their necessarily declining role as homemakers."ll6
Kutner et al., 1956, found a low level of morale
in married working women. Widowed women, when com-
pared to married housewives, have low morale, and
there is ...a lower morale among widowed working
women when compared to working men."l Gurin et
al., found that "...older men are more likely to be
satisfied with their job..." than are younger men.11
114. Bradburn and Caplovitz, 1965, pp. 14-15.
116. A. Rose, 19551 P. 19.
117. Kutner et al., 1956, p. 77.
118. Gurin, Veroff, and Feld, 1960, p. 172.
Retirement and Happiness
Cavan, Burgess, Havighurst, and Goldhammer,
1949, stated that, "...the most drastic and wide-
spread adjustment for old men is to retirement
from employment."l There are various disagree-
ments on whether retirement generally means happi-
ness or unhappiness for the retiree.
Pollman, 1971, found that "the early retirees,
as compared to those men who decided to keep working,
had a significantly higher proportion in the 'high'
life satisfaction classification."l20 Streib and
Schneider, 1971, also noted that "the data showed
that early retirees were somewhat more likely to
be satsfid'than those who retired later."1
Price, 1973, differed with his conclusion that "a
direct relationship between retirement satisfaction
and life satisfaction is supported for involuntary
retirees, but not for voluntary retirees."l22
Thompson, 1958, found that happiness is higher if
119. Cavan et al., 1949, pp. 60-61.
120. A. William Pollman, 1971, p. 46.
121. Streib and Schneider, 1971, p. 112.
122. Robert Price, "Life Satisfaction of the
Aged," unpublished Master's Thesis, Univeristy of
retirement is voluntary.123 Lowenthal, 1965, noted
that there was no relationship of happiness and vol-
Kerckhoff, 1964, found that upper level (pro-
fessional and managerial) retirees did not want to
retire, but their retirement experiences were the
happiest. Middle level retirees wanted to retire
but weren't as happy with retirement as the upper .
level people. The lower level (semi-skilled) re-
tirees were the unhappiest with their retirement
experience.125 K~ratcoski et al., 1974, agreed with
Kerckhoff that greater satisfaction in retirement
can be seen in the "...professional types of work."2
Reichard et al., 1962, hypothesized that retirement
was most stressful just before it took place.12
Thompson et al., 1960, indicated that retirement neg-
atively affects adjustment only when it causes econ-
123. Wayne Thompson, "Pre-Retirement Antici-
pation and Adjustment in Retirement," Journal of
Social Iss~ues, Vol. 14, 1958, ov. 35-45. --
124. Lowenthal and Boler, 1965, p. 68.
125. Kerckhoff, 1964, p. 516.
126. Kratcoski et al., 1974, p. 81.
127. Reichard et al., 1962, p. 169.
128. Wayne Thompson, Gordon Streib, and John Kosa,
"The Effect of Retirement on Personal Adjustment: A
Panel Analysis," Journal of Gerontology, Vol. 15, No. 2,
Section B, April, 1960, pp. 165-169.
In general, retirement is negatively related
to happiness according to Kutner et al., 1956, 29
Lipman, 1961,130 Adams, 1971,13 Lwnhl195132`
and Thompson, 1958.133 But retirement is positively
related to happiness for femalesl3 n owie.3
Physical Health and Happiness
Almost every study reported on concluded that
the health of the respondent was a main ingredient
The strongest voice for the relationship of'
health and happiness is by Palmore and Luikart,
1972, when they found that "self-rated health was
by far the strongest variable related to life sat-
isfaction and it alone accounts for two-thirds or
more of the explained variance in all groups
129. Kutner et al., 1956.
130. A. Lipman, "Role Conceptions and Morale
of Couples in Retirement," Journal of Gerontology,
Vol. 16, 1961, pp. 267-271.
131. David Adams, 1971, p. 66.
132. Lowenthal and Boler, 1965, p. 368.
133. Wayne Thompson, 1958, p. 38.
134. Loeb et al., 1963.
--~135.~- Gann Lloyd, "Social and Personal Adjust-
ment of Retired Persons," Sociology and Social
Research, Vol. 39, No. 5. 1955, PP. 312-316
136. Palmore and Luikart, 1972, p. 78.
The relationship of good health and happiness was
reported by Jeffers and Nichols, 1961,137 Cutler,
1973,13 Lebo, 1953,19 Bultena and 0Oyler, 1971,14
Edwards and Klemmack, 1973,14 Maddox, 1965,14 Streib,
1956,143 Kutner, 1956,144 Gurin et al., 1960,145 and
Lowenthal and Boler, 1965.146
Albrecht agreed by noting that good health does
not guarantee good adjustment but "...a high handi-
cap score...correlated somewhat closer with a low
adjustment score...."7 When the subject rates his
137. Frances Jeffers and Claude Nichols, "The
Relationship of Activities and Attitudes to Physical
Well-Being in Older People," Journal of Gerontology,
Yol. 16, 1961, pp. 67-70.
138. Stephen Cutler, 1973, P. 99.
139. Dell Lebo, 1953, p. 385.
140. Gordon Bultena and Robert 0yler, "Effects of
Health on Disengagement and Morale," Arine and Human
Development, Vol. 2, 1971, p. 147.
141. Edwards and Klemmack, 1973, p. Sol.
143. Gordon Streib, "Morale of the Retired,"
Social Problems, Vol. 3, 1956, p. 276.
144. Kutner et al., 1956, p. 158.
145. Gurin, veroff, and Feld, 1960.
146. Lowenthal and Boler, 1965.
147. Ruth Albrecht, "Social Factors in the
Health of Older People," Geriatrics, Vol. 8, 1953,
health as poor, even when it isn't, this usually in-
dicates that the subject has poorly adjusted to the
environment, says Maddox, 1962.14 With this in mind,
Cavan et al..'s statement, "women feel less satisfied
with their health than men"l4 takes on an extra:
implication that men are happier than women. Price,
1973, differed from the norm in his finding that "a
direct relationship between self-rated health and life
satisfaction is not supported, contrary to the liter-
ature in the field."150
Mental Health and Happiness
Pew studies have examined the influence of men-
tal health on happiness. Even fewer studies have
looked at this topic with regard to late middle-aged
people or the early old-age population. One of the
few studies was done by Gurin, Veroff, and Feld, 1960,
who found that low income, unhappiness and an ...ex-
pression of anxiety through physical symptoms"5
occur together. These relationships do not hold as
the level of income increases.152
148. George Maddox, "Some Correlates of Differ-
ences in Self-Assessment of Health Status Among the
Elderly," Social Forces, Vol. 40, 1962, p. 182.
149. Cavan et al., 1949, p. 61.
150. Robert Price, 1973, p. 53.
151. Gurin, Veroff, and Feld, 1960, p. 218.
152. Ibid, p. 217.
Bradburn and Caplovitz, 1965, reported that
"...there is a negative relationship between the
anxiety index and respondent's reports of how happy
they are, with the high-anxiety respondents being
more likely to report that they are 'not too happy'
and the low anxiety respondents being more likely
to report that they are 'very happy.'"5 They also
found that "...women are much more prone to high
anxiety than men, but there is no consistent rela-
tionship between age anld anxiety."5
Derek Phillips, 1967, discovered that "...those
classified as mentally ill experienced a great deal
less happiness than do those categorized as well."5
In general, Phillips found that the amount of
happiness is contingent on the state of the subject's
It is generally agreed that good mental health
is associated with happiness but no one has inves-
tigated to what extent this is true. A number of
studies have looked at the relationship between mental
153. Bradburn and Caplovitz, 1965, p. 28.
155. Derek Phillips, 1967, p. 288.
health variables such as anxiety, psychopathology,
depression, phobias, and cognitive impairment with
various sociodemographic variables.
Kutner et al., 1956, noted the influences of
societal role changes on the mental health of the
elderly. They stated that, "psychological collapse
is often precipitated by the emotional stress accom-
panying loss of employment, death of a spouse and
loved ones, isolation from community life, and an
awareness of declining physical vigor."1157 Their
study used a "scale of senility" as the only measure
of mental health problems of the respondents. The
scale was "...based upon items dealing with thoughts
of death, daydreaming, and forgetfulness."l58 Kutner.
et al., found that "...senile symptomatology is
strongly present in about one person in twenty and
moderately present in one of five others in the sur-
vey."l59 It is also concluded that there is a trend
for greater percentages of mental illness as age
increases, but this trend is not strong enough to
say that ...illness dominates old age."0
157. Kutner et al., 1956, p. 236.
158. Ibid, p. 132.
160. Ibid, p. 133.
Dorthea C. Leighton et al., developed measures
of psychiatric disorder in the Health Opinion Survey
to help in examining the relationship between environ-
ment and psychiatric disorder. A main purpose in
exploring this problem was "If a small number of ques-
tions could be demonstrated to indicate instances
of psychiatric disorder satisfactorily, this would
be usable as an inexpensive way to conduct numbers
of large-scale psychiatric epidemiological studies."l6
The Stirling Co~unty Study isolated the major symptom
categories of psychophysiologic, psychoneurotic,
mental deficiency, sociopathic ~behavior, personality
disorder, brain syndrome, and psychosis.16 For gen-
eral mental health, Macmillan reported that "...the
men appeared healthier than the women."l6 The authors
explain this by stating, "...while women, as compared
to men, more often have symptom patterns that are
clearly indicative of psychiatric disorder, these
symptoms are disabling to about the same or to only
161. Dorthea Leighton, John Harding, David Mack-
lin, Allister Macmillan, and Alexander Leighton, The
Character of Danger: Psychiatric Symptoms in Selected
Communities, New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1963, p. 201.
162. Ibid, p. 221.
163. Ibid, p. 226.
a slightly greater extent than those of the men."6
They found a greater percentage of women in the symptom
patterns of psychoneurosis and anxiety;16 depression
symptoms were more important for men than for women;
and psychophysiologic symptoms increase with age.16
The Midtown Manhatten Study, 1962, was interested
in many of the same problems that the Stirling County
Study was. With the use of a questionnaire, this
study attempted to measure "...psychosomatic symptoms,
phobic reactions and mood..."6 in their urban popu-
lation. They emphasized the individual and his place
in society by defining mental health as "...the free-
dom from psychiatric symptomatology and the optimal
functioning of the individual in his social setting."8
Srole et al., found mental health problems increasing
with age,16 "...particularly high prevalence or risk
of mental pathology is to be found among single men
and the divorced of both sexes...10 and "...patient
rates on the whole do not differ between the single
164. Ibid, p. 257.
165. Ibid, p. 267.
166. Ibid, p. 263.
167. Leo Srole et al., 1962, p. 60.
168. Ibid, p. 61.
169. Ibid, p. 169.
170. Ibid, p. 188.
and the married of either sex."?
In a later volume on the Midtown Manhatten Study,
Langner and Michael reported that, "No sex-differences
in impairment were found at the four age levels. How-
ever, women reported a greater number of psychoneurotic
and psychophysiologic symptoms."2
Finally, the Florida Health Study, 1973, has ex-
tended the concepts of the Stirling County Study and
the Midtown Manhatten Study in their evaluation study
of Southern mental health needs and services. They
also measured mental health by the use of a survey
questionnaire. Holzer, 1973, reported the formation
of five psychiatric scales to "...provide a normative
description of the distribution of psychiatric symptom-
atology in the population."l?3 These scales measured
anxiety, cognitive impairment, general psychopathology,
phobias, and mood. Warheit et al., 1973, when using
three scales, found low SES "...to be the most uni-
versally associated with high rates of symptomatology."7
172. Thomas S. Langner and Stanley Michael, Life
Stress and Mental Health, New York, New York: The Free
Press, 1963, p. 77.
173. Charles Holzer, "Social Status and Psycho-
logical Disorder: An Examination of Two Competing Hy-
potheses," unpublished Master's Thesis, Department of
Sociology, University of Florida, 1973, p. 17.
174. George Warheit, John Schwab, Charles Holzer,
and Steven Nadeau, "New Data From the South on Race,
Sex, Age, and Mental Illness," a paper presented at the
1973 meeting of the American Sociological Association,
New York, August 28-30, 1973.
Also noted were the "...high rates of phobic symp~tom-
atology among black females...and the absence of
significant differences between males and females
over age 50.15
Activity and Happiness
A preponderance of the studies supported the
hypothesis that high activity is associated with
Albrecht, 1951, found that "high role-activity
ratings considered in this research were all signifi-
cantly related to good adjustment."6 Lebo, 1953,
reported that "happier people attended a larger number
of club meetings than did unhappy old people."7
Also the "...happier people had more close friends
than did the unhappy subjects."178 Rose found that
engaging in organizational activities helps increase
life satisfaction.179 Tobin and Neugarten, 1961,
said that "...social interaction is positively assoc-
iated with life satisfaction for all ages...with
advancing age, engagement, rather than
176. Albrecht, 1951, p. 145.
177. Lebo, 1953, P. 386.
179. Rose, 19551 P. 19.
disengagement, is more closely related to psycho-
logical well-being."8 Bradburn and Caplovitz,
1965, found that "...for both sexes and both socio-
economic groups there is, on the whole, a positive
relationship between belonging to organizations,
clubs, or community groups and having positive
feelings."8 "Organizational membership is posi-
tively related to happiness."8
Other investigators that agree in their studies
that activity and happiness are positively related
are: Reichard et al., 1962,183 D. Phillips,
1967,184 Palmore, 1968,185 Bultena and 0yler,
1971,18 Cutler,18 Anderson, 1967,18 Lipman,
180. Sheldon Tobin and Bernice Neugarten, "Life
Satisfaction and Social Interaction in theAin,
Journal of Gerontology, Vol. 16, 1961, p. 346.g
181. Bradburn and Caplovitz, 1965, p. 45.
182. Ibid, p. 46.
183. Reichard, Livson, and Petersen, 1962, p. 171.
184. Derek Phillips, 1967, p. 290.
185. Erdman Palmore, "The Effects of Aging on
Activities and Attitudes," Gerentologist, Vol. 8,
1968, p. 263.
186. Bultena and 0yler, 1971, p. 147.
187. Stephen Cutler, "The Availability of
Personal Transportation, Residential Location, and
Life Satisfaction Among the Aged," Journal of Geron-
1912gy, Vol. 27, No. 3, 1972, p. 388.
188. Nancy Anderson, "Effects of Institutional-
ization on Self-Esteem of Older People," Journal of
Gerontology, Vol. 22, 1967, pp. 313-317.
1961,189 Palmore and Luikart, 1972,190 Maddox and
Eisdorfer, 1962,191 Davis, 1962,192 Rosow, 1967,193
Lemon et al., 1969,194 Lloyd, 1955.195 and Kutner
et al., 1956.196
Price, 1973, qualified his conclusion about
activity and the life satisfaction of retirees by
saying, "A direct relationship between participation
in organizational activity and life satisfaction is
supported, but only for voluntary retirees.l9
Martin, 1973, supported both the activity theory
and the disengagement theory but said that there was
"...greater support of the activity theory....l9
189. A. Lipman, 1961.
190. Palmore and Luikart, 1972, p. 78.
191. George Maddox and Carl Eisdorfer, "Some
Correlates of Differences in Self-Assessment of Health
Status Among the Elderly," Social Forces, Vol. 40,
1962, pp. 254-260.
192. Robert Davis, "The Relationship of Social
Preference to Self-Concept in an Aged Population,"
Journal of Gerontology, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 431-436.
193. Irving Rosow, Social Integration of the
Aged, New York: Free Press, 1967.
194. Lemon et al., 1969.
195. Grann Lloyd, 1955.
196. Kutner et al., 1956.
197. Robert Price, 1973, p. 53
198. Martin, 1973.
Several studies found no trend toward either
activity or disengagement and happiness. Those that
found no relationship are: Maddox, 1964,199 and
Palmore and Luikart, 1972.20 Lemon et al., 1972,
found no association between happiness and level of
activity with neighbors, relatives, formal organiza-
tions or solitary activities.20 Smith and Lipman,
1972, discovered no significant relationship between
peer interaction and life satisfaction.20 Lebo,
1953, reported that neither the number of hobbies
nor the number of hours spent in reading are related
to happiness.203 Stojanovic et al., 1972, concluded
that the activity of ...religious participation
seemed to be the most important predictor of morale.20
To sum things up, Symonds, 1937, said that "the
happy are more concerned with affairs outside them-
selves and with their relations to others.25
199. Maddox, 1964, p. 199.
200. Palmore and Luikart, 1972, p. 78.
201. Lemon et al., 1972, p. 522.
202. ]Kenneth Smith and Aaron Lipman, "Constraint
and Life Satisfaction," Journal of Gerontology, Vol.
27, No. 1, 1972, p. 81.
203. Dell Lebo, 19531 P. 387.
204. Stojanovic et al., 1972, p. 35.
205. Percival Symonds, "Happiness As Related
to Problems and Interests," Journal of Educational
Psychology, Vol. 28, 1937, p. 294. ----
In a scale of happiness, a positive-negative
continuum is being measured that is sometimes called
the "hedonic level"20 or "elation-depression20
or "happiness-unhappiness"20 or "satisfaction-
A happiness scale also suggests a negative as
well as a positive pole. Many adjustment scales
and satisfaction scales are all positive in their
questions and it is readily apparent to the respon-
dent that being happy is the more desirable answer.
The one-question self-report measure of happiness
will have an extreme preponderance of subjects who
report themselves as happier than the average man.
Herbert Goldings (1954) studied the question of a
tendency in subjects to "...avow or overavow happiness
or disavow or underavow unhappiness."210 Goldings
found that "...most subjects tend to rate their own
206. Alden Wessman and David Ricks, Mood ad_
Personality, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston,
Inc., 1966, pp. 33-54.
209. Herbert Goldings, "On the Avowal and Pro-
jection of Happiness," Journal of Personality, Vol.
23, 1954, pp. 30-47.
210. Ibid, p. 46.
happiness as greater than the average."211 Symonds
(1937) early found that "most people prefer to think
of themselves as relatively more happy than unhappy."212
Hartman's (1934) study found "...seventy-five per
cent of the group rated themselves as possessing
happiness equaling or exceeding that of the average."213
This is not just a trend found by the early investi-
gators. Bradburn and Caplovitz (1965) found that 83
per cent of their population rated themselves as very
happy or pretty happy.21 Gurin, Veroff and Feld
(1960) found that 90 per cent of their subjects rated
themselves as very happy or pretty happy.215 only
ten per cent said that they were not too happy. Arnold
Rose (1955) found that so few people reported being
even "somewhat dissatisfied" that the answer "average"
had to be combined with the answers "somewhat dis-
satisfied" and "very dissatisfied" and called "some-
what dissatisfied.21 This same tendency is found
in the reports of scores of other investigators.
212. Percival Symonds, 1937, pp. 290-294.
213. George Hartmann, 1934~, pp. 202-212.
214. Bradburn and Caplovitz, 1965, pp. 8-9.
215. Gurin, Veroff, and Feld, 1960.
216. Arnold Rose, 1955, p- 15
If the variable happiness-unhappiness is a continuum
with the mythical average man as the median, then
half of the population is required by definition
to be less happy than the other half of the popula-
tion. Either the people in the lower half of the
continuum do not know that the majority of the pop-
ulation is happier than themselves or they will not
admit to the investigator that they are indeed un-
happy. If the first is true, then the self-report
method of measuring happiness does not work well
with the normal categories of answers. And if the
latter is true, then the method of directly asking
the~ respondent if he is~ happy or not does not achieve
A second problem is discovering a measure that
corresponds to happiness and only happiness. The
concept is very complicated and it is likely that
some happiness scores include more or less a measure
of the "...absence of depression, anxiety, or
neurosis.21 Also, there is a problem of very
recent disasters or euphoric happenings occurring
that could make the respondent rate himself as sig-
nificantly happier or unhappier than is his actual
217. Warner Wilson, "Correlates of Avowed
Happiness," Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 67, 1967,
overall general well-being. This tendency would
cause a measurement of moods rather than the more
stable-over-time concept of happiness, satisfaction,
These problems seem to be adequately resolved
in the happiness scale used in this study. .This
happiness scale consists of eight questions.
All the questions or their concepts have been
used in various scales of satisfaction, happiness,
or morale in the past. The first question is, "Do
you feel in good spirits?" This is a popular ques-
tion in happiness scales and it has been used by
Watson,21 Burgess,21 Thompson and Streib,22
Thompson, Streib and Kosa,22 Lowenthal,22 and
Streib and Schneider.22 This is the only pos-itive
question that was factored into the happiness scale.
The second question, "Do you sometimes wonder if
218. Goodwin Watson, "Happiness Among Adult
Students of Education," Journal of Educational
Psychology, Vol. 21, 1930, p. 81.
219. Burgess and Cottrell, 1939.
220. Wayne Thompson and Gordon Streib, "Situational
Determinants: Health and Economic Deprivation in Re-
tirement," Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 14, 1958,
221. Thompson, Streib, and Kosa, 1960.
222. Lowenthal and Boler, 1965, pp. 363-371.
223. Streib and Schneider, 1971.
anything is worth-while anymore?" is a negative-
sounding question and was positioned in the ques-
tionnaire just after the first question in the scale.
Pollak has used this concept in his investigation
The next seven items were positioned together
several pages later in the questionnaire. The third
question is, "How often would you say things don't
turn out the way you want them to?" Kutner22 and
Phillips22 both have used this term in their scales.
The next item is, "How often do you have crying spells
or feel like it?" This question taps a physical ex-
hibit of unhappiness and was used by Watson22 in
his study. The fifth item is, "How often do you feel
you don't enjoy doing things anymore?" This item is
similar to the conception of "zest" by Neugarten,
Havighurst, and Tobin.22 The question is also
224. Otto Pollak, Social Adjustment in Old Age:
A Research Plannina Report, Bulletin 59, social
Science Research Council, New York, New York, 1948,
225. Kutner, Fanshel, Togo, and Langner, 1956.
226. B. S. Phillips, "Role Change, Subjective
Age and Adjustment: A Correlational Analysis,"
Journal of Gerontology, Vol. 16, 1961, p. 348.
227. Goodwin Watson, 1930), p. 81.
228. Bernice Neugarten, Robert J. Havighurst, and
Sheldon Tobin, "The Measurement of Life Satisfaction,"
Journal of Gerontology, Vol. 16, 1961, pp. 134-143.
concerned with the idea of engaging in activities,
just as question three was concerned with a respon-
dent's failure in his activities.
Question six is, "How often do you feel alone
and helpless?" Similar questions or concepts are
used by Burgess,22 Neugarten,23 and Lawton.23
The question is indirectly influenced by the friend-
ship bonds the respondent has with other people and
his perceived powerlessness in the world. The seventh
question is future oriented and it asks, "How does
the future look to you?" It is imperative that this
question be included. A person's psychological well-
being is largely influenced by his expectations. A
respondent who sees himself as pretty happy now and
expects to be even better off in five years has a
quite different life perception than a respondent
who says he is pretty happy now but can see only
bleak misfortune for his future. This is a little
like the farmer in The Devil and Daniel Webster who,
after selling his soul, felt pretty happy for years
229. Burgess and Cottrell, 1939.
230. Neugarten et al., 1961.
23.M. P. Lawton, "The Dimensions of Morale,"
in Research, Planning and Action for the Elderly, by
D. Kent, R. Kastenbaum, and S. Sherwood (editors),
Behavioral Publications, New York, New York, 1972,
until collection time came. Then the future looked
extremely dismal and this significantly affected
his present happiness. The eighth question is,
"How often do you feel that life is hopeless?" The
relationship of hope as .a helpful contribution to
happiness is used in the studies by Kutner,23 Thompson
and Streib,23 and Thompson, Streib and Kosa.23 The
final question is, "How often do you feel that people
don't care what happens to you?" This idea of caring
is closely related to love and friendship patterns.
The study by Maddox23 saw friendship as a meaningful
dimension of morale.
Because seven of the nine questions are nega-
tively stated (question one is positive and question 7
is neutral), the scale could be said to measure un-
happiness. Since the concept is composed of a
happiness-unhappiness continuum, the scale therefore
measures happiness also. It was stated earlier that
people tend to report, when they are directly asked,
that they are happier than the average person.
Hopefully this scale will not be as susceptible to
232. Kutner, 1956, p. 48.
233. Thompson and Streib, 1958.
234. Thompson, Streib, and Kosa, 1960.
235. George Maddox, 1962, p. 181.
this problem because the questions are negatively
stated and split into two different groups in differ-
ent places in the questionnaire. The questions also
fail to mention the words "happy," "satisfied," or
"morale." If a person is generally unhappy, he will
have to make a concerted, almost conscious effort
to misrepresent himself in order to score on the
happy pole of the continuum. If a person is genuinely
happy, he will have to answer counter to the way the
questions are worded to achieve a score on the happy
end of the continuum. It is hoped that this wording
will have the effect of partially correcting for the
respondents' preference of thinking of themselves
as relatively more happy than unhappy.
It is obvious from this review that some major
problems encountered by researchers are inadequate
representative sampling, fragmentary definitions
and inconsistent methodological techniques. The
literature showed a great deal of overlapping defin-
itions for both happiness and mental health.
The strength 6f this study lies in the use of
an excellent representative sample of an urban-rural
populations the selection of the 30-year age span
of ages 45-74, which has been relatively neglected
in the literature; and the measurement of important
sociological traits. This study should make a con-
tribution to the understanding of people in the
middle years and early old age.
DERIVATION OF HYPOTHESES
The objective of this study is to determine
the age trends from late middle age to early old
age and the interrelationships of sex, race, and
socioeconomic status to the variables happiness,
health, occupational status, marital status and
Is there a basic pattern of aging that is
systematically influenced by sociodemographic
variables? We know that some people are unhappy
and dissatisfied as they age but are there specific
aspects of peoples' patterns of living that make
happiness easier to achieve?
Most of the research on happiness has been
done only with older people. Only a few research
enterprises are interested in the middle aged
person also. One of the few, Neugarten and her
associates.(1964) have focused on personality in
middle and late life. There seem to have been no
studies that have focused on the sociological
perspective with an equal interest in middle age
along with old age.
Many independent variables have been considered
in relation to happiness but race has been largely
ignored in the literature.
The principal structur-al variables that pro-
foundly influence a person's life style and social
Sex being male or female automatically brings
with it a set of experiences and social pressures
that differ considerably.
Race being black or white definitely means
that a person faces different life problems and has
different perspectives on how to adjust to life
Socioeconomic status being a member of a par-
ticular socioeconomic status brings with it differing
chances for various qualities of life.
Age this variable may be the most important
because so many other variables such as occupation,
income, health status, etc., will change over time
as a person ages .
From available evidence, five major propositions
have been generated:
1. People in the middle years of life
tend to be as happy as those in the
early old age stage.
2. Mental health as measured by anxiety,
psychopathology, cognitive impair-
ment, and phobias will be a more
important influence on happiness in
early old age than in the middle years.
3. Happiness is a pattern that varies
predictably along age stages that are
influenced by the sociological vari-
ables of sex, race, and socioeconomic
4.There will be a statistically signifi-
cant difference in the happiness
patterns of men and women.
5. There will be no relationship between
the happiness ratings and race when
socioeconomic status is controlled for.
In addition to examining these hypotheses, some
investigation into various life patterns of health,
occupation, marriage and the family, and activity
will be pursued to help in formulating future research
The data from this project were collected as
part of the Florida health study "Evaluating Southern
Mental Health Needs and Services."1 This is a five-
year epidemiologic study undertaken in Alachua County,
Florida, to evaluate the county's "...mental health
needs, examine patterns of health care (both physical
and mental), and refine assessment instruments which
can be used by Community Mental Health Centers for
evaluation research."2 The 982-square-mile county
had a 1970 population of 104,764 people. The main
urban area, Gainesville, had a population of 69,441
people and is surrounded by six small towns, several
rural non-farm settlements and much farmland. The
city is dominated by a major state university and
a large medical center.
1. NIMH Grant #15900-05-
2. John Schwab, George Warheit and Eileen Fennell,
"Community Mental Health Evaluation: An Assessment of
Needs and Services," an unpublished paper from the
Florida Health Study Program, University of Florida,
Gainesville, Florida, 1972, p. 6.
A random sample of 2,333 subjects were drawn
from the county's 37,000 households.3 To insure
randomness, Kish'sl (1965) tables were used to select
the respondents. After interviewing 322 respondents
for the pro-test anid revising the questionnaire, an
additional 1,645 interviews were gathered.5 There
was a low refusal rate of only 8.8 per cent and
"an additional 6.9 per cent could not be located
or interviewed even though trained interviewers
made as many as five call-backs. All subjects were
interviewed in their homes."6
This study was based on a random sample of the
population of Alachua County households. To substan-
tiate that the sample of 1,6115 respondents was rep-
resentative of the population of the county, a com-
parison of major demographic variables of the sample
and the county as reported by the 1970 Census was
made. The analysis confirmed that this sample was
representatives This particular study includes the
3. Charles E. Holzer, "Social Status and Psycho-
logical Disorder: An Examination of Two Competing
Hypotheses," unpublished Master's thesis, Department
of Sociology, University of Florida, 1973, p. 15.
4. Leslie Kish, Survey Sampling, New York, New
York: John Wiley and Sons, 1965.
5. Charles Holzer, 1973, p. 15.
575 men and women between the ages of 45 and 73.
The final interviewing schedule contained 317
items and asked questions to elicit information about:
(1) demographic data and a compre-
hensive social history, (2) items con-
cerning familial and-other interpersonal
relations, (3) questions concerning life
satisfactions, both interpersonal and
other, (4) indices concerning religion,
racial distance, anomie, perceptions of
social change and social aspirations,
(5) a medical systems review and de-
tailed physical symptom data, (6) a
detailed inventory of mental symptom-
atology...and (7) a series of items
concerning attitudes toward and utili-
zation of health services.8
The study necessarily revolves around the anal-
ysis of a significant life crisis event that nearly
all people must face at some point in time. This
life event is retirement, which can be a positive
or negative force in a worker's life situation.
There is no doubt that retirement signals a major
change in an individual's life and that it profoundly
affects every aspect of a person's social environ-
ment as well as influencing the entire family of
the individual facing the retirement event. To be
sure of studying the conditions of pre-retirement,
8. George Warheit, John Schwab, Charles Holzer,
and Steven Nadeau, "New Data From the South on Race,
Sex, Age, and Mental Illness," a paper prepared for
presentation at the annual meeting of the American
Sociological Association, New York, August 28-30,
1973, p. 5-
this study included people as young as 45 years, and
in order to include the later retirees, the age
categories up to 75 years of age were accepted as
part of the study. It-is of major importance in the
study of happiness to examine both the pre-retirement
stage and the post-retirement stage of life of men
and women workers to see which population adjusts
best to retirement and what social variables contribute
most to their happiness.
To focus on the fluctuations in happiness during
these two stages surrounding retirement, this study
necessarily examines the entire target population by
small age groups of five years. The respondents
included in the survey population consisted of 112
people in the age category 45-49 years; 130 people
So-54 years; 90 people 55-59 years; 91 people 60-64
years; 88 people 65-69 years; and 64 people 70-74
years of age. There are 235 men, 340 women, 416
whites and 159 nonwhites. The sample population
compared well with the same variables from the 1970
U. S. Census for the age, sex, and race distributions
as given in tables 1 through 4.
Mental Health Scales
A part of the Florida Health Study was the
development and validation of several scales to
measure various aspects of the psychiatric symptom-
atology of a normal population.9 Factor analysis
was carried out on 97 items of the 317 total items
from the interview. These items were first divided
into major subsets of somatic health, phobias, gross
psychopathology, worry, and "nervous" items.1 The
selection of these subsets is essential because
principal components analysis cannot be used to
ascertain psychologically common factors from a more
complex theoretical structure. The problem is to
reduce a large number of item variables to a "...small
number of principal components consisting of mix-
tures of common and specific variables."ll So
principal components analysis was used to reduce
9. Charles Holzer, 1973, p. 17.
10. John Schwab, George Warheit, Lynn Robbins,
Charles Holzer, Kenneth Hodge, Enrique Araneta, and
Edith Swanson, "Community Mental Health Center
Assessment Program," a grant application by the
Florida Health Study Program, University of Florida,
Gainesville, Florida, 1973, p. 102.
11. Wilson Guertin and John Bailey, Introduction
to Modern Factor Analysis, Ann Arbor, Michigan: Edward
Brothers, Inc., 1970, p. 115.
the data set. Also, the principal axes method uses
Hotelling's method of unities in the diagonal cells.12
This procedure of factor analysis measures the
clusters of items that are the elements of the sub-
scales. "The generation and perfection of subscales
was governed by the criteria that any given subscale
should measure only one psychiatric variable and that
the internal consistency of the item in a given sub-
scale be maximized, i.e., any given subscale should
be unidimensional and homogeneous."13 When the sub-
scales were tentatively isola-ted, Cronbach's Allphallk
was calculated to determine whether or not the scales
had "...acceptable levels of internal consistency."15
Also, a part-whole correlation was calculated for
each question in each subscale.
12. Ibid, p. 66.
13. Schwab et al., 1973, p. 104.
1.L. Cronbach, "Coefficient Alpha and the
Internal Structure of Tests," Psychometrica, Vol.
16, 1951, pp. 297-334.
15. Charles Holzer, 1973, p. 17.
Five scales were used in this analysis: Happi-
ness, Anxiety, General Psychopathology, Cognitive
Impairment, and Phobia.
Variations in possible responses by the respon-
dents required that all questions in the scales be
coded to include a similar possible range of scores
from 0 to 4. Five-point items with possible answers
of "excellent," "good," "fair," "poor," and "very
bad" were coded 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4. Three-point items
such as the answer choices of "better," "same,." .or
worses" were coded 0, 2, or 4. The two-point ques-
tions with the possible answers of "yes" or "no"
were coded 0 or 4. This coding insures that each
item in a scale has the same influence on that par-
ticular scale. A nine-item scale would therefore
have a possible score range from 0 to 36.
This same grading procedure was used for all
Happiness Scale. Many of the problems of measur-
ing happiness as discussed in the review of litera-
ture seem to be adequately resolved in the nine-
item happiness scale presented in this study. The
items used in this scale are:
1. Do you feel in good spirits? 0 2 4
2. Do you sometimes wonder if 4-2
anything is worthwhile anymore?
3. Ho~w often would you say things C-3-2-1-0
don't turn out the way you want
4. How often do you have crying 4-3-2-1-0
spells or feel like it?
5. How often do you feel you don't 4-3-2-1-0
enjoy doing things anymore?
6. How often do you feel alone 4-3-2-1-0
7. How does the future look to you? 0-1-2-3-4
8. How often do you feel that life 4-3-2-1-0
9. How often do you feel that 4-3-2-1-0
people don't care what happens
The possible range on the happiness scale is
0 to 36. To get the total score for the happiness
scale, simply add all of the item scores. The
lower the scale score is the greater is the level
of happiness for the respondent. Since other scales
measured anxiety and neurosis, etc., and no item
was repeated in other scales, the chance of measuring
these other variables along with happiness is much
smaller than the chance of doing so with a one-
question self-response measure.
The following four scales were used as measures
of the actual mental health of the respondents.
The Mental Health Scales
Anxiety Scale. Thle measure of anxiety is com-
prised of twelve items "...tappinig symptoms of
psychophysiologic distress and hypochondria."1
The questions in this scale are:
1. Do your hands ever tremble 4 2 0
enough to bother you?
2. Are you ever troubled by your 4 1 2 0
hands tr feet sweating so that
they feel damp or clammy?
3. Are you ever bothered by your 4 2 0
heart beating hard?
4. Have you ever been troubled by 4 2 0
5.Do you feel that you are 4 2 0
bothereden byn all sorts (differ-
entkins)of ailments in
different parts of your body?
6. Do you ever have loss of 4 2 O
7. Has ill health affected the 4 2 0
amount of work (housework)
8. Do you ever feel weak all over? 4 2 0
16. Ibid, p. 19.
9. Do you ever have spells of 4 2 0
10. Have you ever been bothered 4 2 0
by shortness of breath when
you are not exerting yourself?
11. For the most part do you feel 4 2 0
healthy enough to carry out the
things that you would like to do?
12. Have you ever had periods of 4-3-2-1-0
days or weeks when you couldn't
take care of things because you
couldn't get going?
The scale has a possible range of values from
0 to 48. A score of 15 or over is considered high.
The lower the scale score is the lower the measured
General Psychopathology. This is an eight-item
scale that relates to the concept of "...psychotism
The scale consists of the questions:
1. How often do you have unwelcome 4-3-2-1-0
or strange thoughts or thoughts
that frighten you?
2. How often do you find yourself 4-3-2-1-0
doing the same things over and
over to be sure they are right?
3. How often do you feel that 4-3-2-1-0
people are trying to pick
quarrels or start arguments
17. Ibid, p. 21.
4. How often do you get upset, up- 4-3-2-1-0
tight, or irritable with those
5. How often do you think people 4-3-2-1-0
are following you or plotting
6. How often do you get really 4-3-2-1-0
7. How often do things not seem 4-3-2-1-0
real to you or do you have feel-
ings that you are not really
8. How often do you see or hear 4-3-2-1-0
things that other people don't
think are there?
The possible range of scores is 0 to 32. A
score of 9 or over is considered high. The lower
the scale score is the lower the measured symptoms
of general psychopathology.
Cognitive Impairment. Four items comprise the
cognitive impairment scale:
1. How often do you have trouble 4-3-2-1-0
concentrating or keeping your
mind on what you are doing?
2. How often do you have trouble 4-3-2-1-0
3. Does it (trouble remembering) 4-3-2-1-0
dause you difficulty?
4. Does it (trouble remembering) 4-3-2-1-0
keep you from doing some
things that you want to do?
The possible range of scale scores is 0 to 16.
A score of 7 or over is considered high. The lower
the score is the lower the measured cognitive impairment.
Phobia Scale. The phobia scale consists of
ten items about the particular fears of the popula-
tion. These items can be further grouped into fears
of situations including fears of animals or insects,
high places, closed-in places, thunder and lightning,
and the dark; and a second group of personal fears
including fear of driving or riding in a car, fear
of crowds, strangers, bodily harm, or fear of being
hexed, witched, or the "evil eye." There is a
possible scale score range of 0 to 20 for personal
fears, O to 20 for situational fears, and a range
of 0 to 40 for the comprehensive phobia scale. The
questions asked are:
Do you have any strong fears about any of the
1. Driving or riding in a car? 4 0
2. Being in crowds? 4 0
3. Strangers? 4 0
4. Fear of bodily harm? 4 0
5. Being hexed, witched, "evil eye"? 4 0
6. Any particular animals or 4 0
7. High places? 4 0
8. Closed-in places? 4 0
9. Thunder and lightning? 4 0
10. The dark? 4 0
A score of 13 or over is considered high. The
lower the score is the lower the measured phobia
Socioeconomic status was calculated following
the method of the Bureau of the Census.8 The socio-
economic score is based on the respondent's education,
the family income, and the respondent's occupation.
The ranks of these variables were based on the sample
of 1,645 subjects and not on the national census
data. Therefore it is "...insured that a respondent's
SES score would be determined by comparisons with
the educational, income, and occupational structure
of the specific population to which he belongs."l9
The socioeconomic status scores are a simple
average of the three scores computed for the respon-
dent's occupation, education, and income level. The
possible range of SES scores is from 0 to 97. The
study population had a mean of 52.23 with a standard
deviation of 26.07. When detailed analysis of the
18. United States Bureau of the Census, U.S.
Census of the Pooulation: 1960, Subject Reports,
Socioeconomic Status, Final Report PC (2)-5C, U.s.
Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 1967.
19. George Warheit, Charles Holzer, and John
Schwab, "An Analysis of Social Class and Racial Dif-
ferences in Depressive Symptomatology: A Community
Study," revised edition of a paper read at the 1972
meeting of the American Sociological Association, New
Orleans, August 28, 1972, p. 6.
variable socioeconomic status was needed, the scores
were grouped into five levels of SES. When a more
general analysis of socioeconomic status was needed,
the SES scores of 60-97 were designated as "high"
SES and the other levels were combined into the
"low" socioeconomic category.
The Methods of Analysis
Because of the various levels of measurement,
several different statistical tests were used in
this study. To test for significance, the chi square
was used when at least one of the variables was at
the nominal level of measurement. Tau C was used
when `both variables were at least at the ordinal
level of measurement. For analysis of variance the
F-test was used, when the criterion variable was at
the interval level and the concern was for more than
two populations. For testing the differences between
only two populations, the t-test was used. The level
of measurement of the data was the criterion for which
the appropriate statistical test was selected. For
example, when examining the levels of happiness ac-
cording to marital status, chi square was used
to test significance. When examining levels of happiness
according to anxiety level, then tau C was used to
test for significance.
To supplement the results of the descriptive
statistics, the multivariate technique of multiple
regression was used to look simultaneously at the
relationships between the happiness scores and the
contribution of the variables age, sex, race, and
socioeconomic status. The F-test was used to measure
statistical significance, and a correlation coefficient
matrix was generated to display the zero-order corre-
lations among the variables. For examination of
interaction between the variables being considered,
the step-wise multiple regression technique was used
and includes the cross-product terms of the variables
under analysis. These results were compared with
the descriptive analysis of the data.
Presentation of Findings
With information from 317 items on 575 people,
it was imperative that the data be reduced to manage-
able proportions. The computation. of percentages,
means, standard deviations, and variances were done
to analyze, present, and summarize the data. The
complexity of the study resulted in the use of many
tables. For ease of presentation, most of these
tables have been gathered together into one appendix
at the end of this paper.
PRESENTATION OF RESULTS
Age, sex, race, and socioeconomic status are
the main sociological variables used in this study.
All of these factors are expected to affect the
happiness of people in middle age, early old age,
and during the life crisis event of retirement at
about the age of 65.
Age and Happiness
Very happy people are characterized by the
feeling that the future looks excellent; they feel
in good spirits most of the time; they feel that
things are worthwhile and that things turn out
the way they want them to; they enjoy doing things;
they feel hopeful and that someone cares for them.
They do not feel alone or helpless and do not have
An example of a very happy person is the case
of a 57-year-old white male who has been married
for 33 years. He sees the future as excellent, is
in good spirits all of the time, feels that life is
very much worthwhile and is very hopeful of the
future. He has kept his job for 24 years and likes
the interpersonal relations with people that are
associated with the job. He is a teacher.
A single happiness score was obtained for each
respondent. The analysis of the scores shows no
statistically significant change for the various
age groups from ages 45 to 74. There is a trend for
the per cent of people who are very happy to steadily
increase from age 45 until the age of 65 (table 5).
For the years 65-69 there is a sharp decrease in
the per cent who are very happy and in the per cent
who are unhappy, then the per cent of happy people
begins to climb to its former high levels while the
per cent of unhappy people increases at a much
Very unhappy people are characterized by rarely
feeling in good spirits and they often wonder if
anything is worthwhile anymore. Unhappy people see
the future as looking bad for them; they feel life
is hopeless and things rarely turn out the way they
want them to; they do not enjoy doing things; they
feel alone, helpless and that people do not care
what happens to them. They often have crying spells.
An example of a very unhappy person is the case
of a 57-year-old black male. This man is a highly
anxious person who rarely feels in good spirits; he
feels that the future looks bad and life is generally
hopeless. He does not enjoy doing things and feels
that people do not care about him. He has less than
a fourth-grade education, is disabled and not working
because of poor health. He has fifteen children and
has a total family income of 1,680 dollars per year.
The percentages of unhappy people in the total
population are more variable by age groups than were
the percentages of happy people. About 15 per cent
of the population aged 45-49 are very unhappy. This
percentage increases to 20 per cent in the early
fifties and then decreases to about 13 per cent in
the late fifties. The early sixties show another
increase to over 17 per cent of the people being
unhappy and then a sharp decrease after age 65 for
the per cent of unhappy people to just over the 10
per cent level. The lowest sustained percentages
of unhappy people occur after the age of 65.
About seven out of ten people in each of the
age groups are classified as medium happy. This
grouping was done to facilitate the examination of
the extremely happy and unhappy categories. These
very happy and very unhappy people scored more than
one standard deviation from the mean happiness score
of the total population.
Hypothesis one states: People in the middle
years of life tend to be as happy as those in the
early old age stage. Table 5 shows that there is
no significant difference in the levels of happiness
over the various age stages. This hypothesis is
When the happiness scores of men and women are
compared along age groups, it is seen that more men
are generally happier than women from age 45 to 59.
The lowest proportion of men who are very happy occurs
at ages 60-64, while the lowest percentage of women
who are very happy is at ages b5-49 and ages 65-69
(table 6). Table 6 also shows that although changes
in happiness scores by age for men occur, the changes
are not enough to be significant. For women the
changes from high, medium and low levels of happiness
are much greater in the various age stages and are
significant at the .001 level.
Race and Happiness
In this study, 27.8 per cent of the population-
is nonwhite. For all practical purposes, the nonwhite
population can be considered as synonymous with the
black population, because there are 157 blacks and
only 2 orientals. Only 6.9 per cent of the nonwhite
population ranks as very happy, while 17.3 per cent
of the white population is very happy, a difference
significant at the .001 level.
Race helps clarify the effects of age on happi-
ness (table 7). For whites, the proportion of happy
people increases throughout middle age until the
highpoint just before the usual retirement age, then
slowly decreases. Nonwhites have a low percentage
of very happy people at all ages except the 50-54
year age group (12.5 per cent). They have the highest
per cent of unhappy people (37.5 per cent) at ages
50-54-. Again, the majority of nonwhites fall into
the medium happiness category. The change for whites
is significant at the .05 level. The more erratic
changes for the nonwhite population are also signifi-
cant at the .05 level.
Sex and Happiness
In the overall evaluation of happiness, 19.1
per cent of the men are rated as very happy while
only 11.2 per cent of the women are high in happi-
ness, a difference significant at the .05 level.
This finding differs from most other studies of happi-
ness that report no real difference in the happiness
scores of men and women. Gurin, Veroff and Feld
expected to find that women expressed greater unhap-
piness1 but their study did not support this for
their skewed sample.
Hypothesis four states: There will be a statis-
tically significant difference in the happiness
1. Gurin, Veroff and Feld, Americans View
Their Mental Health, 1960, p. 4C2.
patterns of men and women. Table 8 shows the mean
happiness scores of men and women by age groups. The
mean happiness level for women is less than that for
men from ages 45 to 54. After this age, the women's
happiness level is greater than that for men. The
F-test shows that for men there is not a significant
difference in mean happiness scores for the various
age groups, but the F-test for the female population
is significant at the .01 level.
When the age groups are examined when controlling
for sex and race, the results show a significant F
value only for the white females. It would be possible
to conclude that the hypothesis is correct for the
female population but fails to find a significant
difference for the subpopulation of black women.
Socioeconomic Status and Ha~ppiness
In other studies, it has been found that socio-
economic status and happiness are positively related
and this study is no different in this respect. In
the total sample, there were 133 people (23.1 per
cent of the population) in the lowest socioeconomic
group of 0-19; 154 people (26.8 per cent) scored
20-39; 131 people (22.8 per cent) scored 40-59; 81
people (14.1 per cent) scored 60-79; and 76 people
(13.2 per cent) scored in the highest SES category
of 80-97. The scores 0-59 were combined and called