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

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

Full textSelfreport on single question: Here is a picture of a ladder. Suppose we say that the top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom represents the worst possible life for you. Where on the ladder do you feel you personally stand at the present time? [ 10 ] best possible life [ 9 ] [ 8 ] [ 7 ] [ 6 ] [ 5 ] [ 4 ] [ 3 ] [ 2 ] [ 1 ] [ 0 ] worst possible life Preceded by 1) open questions about what the respondent imagines as the best possible life and the worst possible life. 2) ratings on the ladder of one's life five years ago and where on the ladder one expects to stand five years from now. Name: Cantril's self anchoring ladder rating of life (original)
Author's labelSelf preset
Finding used in
nation ranks
 On original range 0 - 10On range 0 - 10
Standard deviation2.262.26

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

Correlational findings

Author's labelSubject Code
Subject description
White raceE04ab03tEthnic status in the USA
AgeA04abCurrent age (in years)
Being more satisfiedwith life than 5 yrsago (retrotension)H04aa03aRecent change
Economic levelS09ab01'Objective' socio-economic status
Educational levelE01ab02Level of school-education
EfficacyP05bpInner locus of control
Enjoyment of previous dayM15ab03Yesterday's mood
Expected improv. in life satisf. during next 5 yr protensionH04aa05aIn the near future (up to 5 years)
Expected improvementin nat. situation during next 5 yearsN01ab05Hopes for the nation
Expected life satisfaction 5 years from nowH19abCurrent hope
Expected life satisfaction 5 years from nowH04aa04aIn the near future (up to 5 years), also classified as above ↑
Extent of perceived troubels and obstac-les in lifeL04ac01dEasy (vs hard)
Importance of reli- gion in one's lifeR12af01Concern about religion
Life satisfactionH07aa03eO-SL by C-BW
Life satisfaction 5 years agoH04aa01aIn recent past
Male sexG01aaSex (male vs female)
Marital statusM02aaMarried state (compared to non-married states)
Occupational levelO01ac01Occupational level
Opportunities to do what you would like to doF05ab03aAmount of restrictions perceived
Perceived improve- ment in nat. situat.during past 5 yearsN01ab04Expected improvement\deterioration of one's nation
Positive evaluation of national situa- tion 5 years agoN01ab01Perceived earlier situation of nation
Positive evaluation of present national situationN01ab02Evaluation of current situation of nation
Positive expectat. of national situa- tion 5 yrs. from nowN01ab05Hopes for the nation
Satisfaction with the way things are going in the USAN01ac01Satisfaction with life in nation in general
Self-confidenceS02ad03cSelf confidence
Self-respectS02ad03eSelf respect
Success in achieving goals_AH07aa03fO-SL by C-RG
Success in achieving goals_BH07ac03bC-BW by C-RW
Worries and fearsW07ab01Amount of worrying