Berkman (1971): study US Alameda County, California 1965


Berkman, P.L.
Life Stress and Psychological Well-Being: A Replication of Langner's Analysis in the Midtown Manhatten Study.
Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 1971, Vol. 12, 35 - 45


Adults, general public, Alameda County, USA, 1965
N = 6928
Non Response:
Questionnaire: paper
Mailed questionnaire

Happiness Measure(s) and Distributional Findings

Full text:
Selfreport on 8 questions:

"Here is a list that describes some of the ways people feel at different times. How often do you feel each of these ways?"
A  Very lonely or remote from other people
B  Depressed or very unhappy
C  Bored
D  So restless you couldn't sit long in a chair
E  Vaguely uneasy about something without knowing why
F  On top of the world
G  Particularly excited or interested in something
H  Pleased about having accomplished something

Answer options:
0  never
1  sometimes
3  often
Positive Affect Score (PAS): summed scores on F, G, H
Negative Affect Score (NAS): summed scores on A, B, C, D, E
Affect Balance Score (ABS): PAS minus NAS

Possible range  -15 to +9
Transformed to a 7 point scale, where 1 is all or almost all positive feelings and 7 is all or almost all negative feelings.
1 = neg 0-1 and pos 7-9
2 = neg 0-1 and pos 4-6
2 = neg 2-3 and pos 7-9
3 = neg 0-1 and pos 3
3 = neg 2-3 and pos 4-6
3 = neg 4-5 and pos 7-9
4 = neg 0-1 and pos 0-2
4 = neg 2-3 and pos 3
4 = neg 4-5 and pos 4-6
4 = neg 6-15 and pos 7-9
5 = neg 2-3 and pos 0-2
5 = neg 4-5 and pos 3
5 = neg 6-15 and pos 4-6
6 = neg 4-5 and pos 0-2
6 = neg 6-15 and pos 3
7 = neg 6-15 and pos 0-2

Name: Berkman modified variation of Bradburn's `Affect Balance Scale'
Author's label:
Psychological well-being
Error estimates:
Reliability: Validity: Test for external validity shows correspondence with stressfactors as psychiatric diagnosis did in the Langner & Michael (1963) study.

Correlational Findings

Author's label Subject Description Finding Broken home in childhood Number of parents (broken home) Happiness of parents' marriage inchildhood Parents marital satisfaction Positive evaluation of mother and fatheras a parent Relations with parents Long or serious ill-ness in family during childhood Hardship in family of origin Poor interpersonal relations Current total social participation Self-evaluated com- parative financial status Relative income Poor physical health Current general health status Parental worries Concerns about parenthood Marital satisfaction Satisfaction with marriage Life stress Burden of earlier life-events S.E.S. 'Objective' socio-economic status Adult stress Life-stress inventories
Amount of problems perceived
Childhood stress Burden of earlier life-events
Hardship in family of origin