Findings on happiness in Danner et al. (2001): study US 1991

Publication
Author(s)Danner, D.D.; Friessen, W.V.; Snowdon, D.A.
TitlePositive Emotions in Early Life and Longevity: Findings from the Nun Study.
SourceJournal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2001, Vol. 80, 804 - 813.
Investigation
PublicNuns who lived in cloister since early adulthood. Followed into old age, USA, 1991
 91 % of the sisters had at least a bachelor's degree in 1991 and their job was to teach. All nuns were born before 1917 and formally joined the religious congregation between 1931 and 1943
 Content analysis of autobiographies took place from 1991-1993
Survey nameNot available
 The Nun Study is a longitudinal study of aging and Alzheimer's disease
SampleNon-probability chunk sample
 Of a total of 678 nuns who agreed to participate, only those ones who were born and raised in the USA were chosen and whose autobiographies were hand-written: not typed. 101 nuns came from the convent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and 79 from the convent in Baltimore, Maryland
Respondents N =180
Non Response17%
AssesmentContent analysis
 Content analysis handwritten biographies written between the ages of 18 and 32. The Mother Superior had in a letter sent in 1930 requested that each sister wrote an autobiography. Content-analysis: Coders identified all words in the biographies that reflected an emotional experience and classified them as positive, negative or neutral. Than they classified each sentence as containing one or more positive, negative or neutral emotion words.
Happiness measure(s) used
Full textNumber of positive emotion words in autobiography Content analysis by count of words/phrases that reflected an emotional experience as either positive, neutral or negative. Coders were instructed not to code possible elicitors of emotion (such as death of a relative) but only the words that describe the emotion that was experienced. They were also instructed not to code words like good or bad, if these did not describe an emotional experienced.
ClassificationA-ASA-h-cr-n-100-a
Author's labelnumber of positive words
Page in publication807
RemarksThe mean is calculated by taking it as a percentage of a total of all emotion words (positive + negative + neutral) of both coders.
Error estimatesMean correlation of both coders of all emotion words = +.88; mean correlation of positive words=+.96
Finding used in
nation ranks
Yes
 On original range 0 - 100On range 0 - 10
Mean0.858.52
Standard deviation


Full textNumber of positive emotion sentences in autobiography Content analysis by count of sentences that reflected an emotional experience as either positive, neutral or negative. Coders were instructed not to code possible elicitors of emotion (such as death of a relative) but only the words that describe the emotion that was experienced. They were also instructed not to code words like good or bad, if these did not describe an emotional experienced.
ClassificationA-ASA-h-cr-n-100-b
Author's labelnumber of positive sentences
Page in publication807
RemarksThe mean is calculated by taking it as a percentage of a total of all emotion sentences (positive + negative + neutral) of both coders.
Error estimatesMean correlation all emotion words of coders A and B was +.88 correlation of positive sentences was +.97
Finding used in
nation ranks
Yes
 On original range 0 - 100On range 0 - 10
Mean0.838.32
Standard deviation


Correlational findings

Author's labelSubject Code
Finding
Subject description
mortality rateL06LIFE EVENTS
mortality rateL08LIFE HISTORY, also classified as above ↑
mortality rateH12aa03aLongevity (assessed in follow up), also classified as above ↑