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Quality of American Life, 1978

Resource Type
Dataset : observational data, survey data
  • Campbell, Angus
  • Converse, Philip E.
Other Title
  • Version 1 (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • National Science Foundation
Free Keywords
dissatisfaction; family life; friendships; happiness; health behavior; home environment; job satisfaction; leisure; life plans; life satisfaction; lifestyles; living conditions; occupational status; optimism; personal adjustment; personal finances; pessimism; psychological wellbeing; quality of life; social life; social networks
  • Abstract

    This dataset is a continuation of one created seven years earlier, QUALITY OF AMERICAN LIFE, 1971 (ICPSR 3508). In the 1978 study, a national sample was drawn that included many respondents from the 1971 study. The purpose of the study was to survey Americans about their perceived quality of life by measuring their perceptions of their socio-psychological condition, their needs and expectations from life, and the degree to which those needs were satisfied. The data, similar in scope and content of that in the 1971 survey, were collected via personal interviews from a nationwide probability sample of 3,692 persons 18 years of age and older during the summer of 1978. Closed and open-ended questions were used to probe respondents' satisfactions, dissatisfactions, aspirations, and disappointments in a variety of life domains, such as dwelling/neighborhood, local services (e.g., police, roads, and schools), public transportation, present personal life, life in the United States, education, occupation, job history/expectation, work life, housework, leisure activities, organizational affiliations, religious affiliation, health problems, financial situation, marriage (including widowhood, divorce, and separation), children/family life, and relationships with family and friends. In addition to broad questions about satisfaction with each of these domains and their importance to the respondents, specific sources of gratification and frustration were explored. Other questions focused on life as a whole and about the extent to which respondents felt they had control over their lives (e.g., rating of various aspects of life, (dis)satisfaction with life, personal efficacy, and social desirability measures). A major difference between this study and the earlier study is that the 1978 respondents were asked more detailed questions concerning their perceived financial status relative to their family, friends, and past personal financial status. Personal data include sex, age, race, ethnic background, childhood family stability, military service, and father's occupation and education. Observational data are included on housing and neighborhood characteristics as well as respondents' appearance, intelligence, and sincerity.
  • Methods

    ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection: Performed consistency checks.; Standardized missing values.; Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes..
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: Dataset
Temporal Coverage
  • Time period: 1978
  • 1978-06 / 1978-08
    Collection date: 1978-06--1978-08
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Persons aged 18 years of age or older living within the conterminous United States, exclusive of households on military reservations.
A national multistage area probability sampling of 3,692 persons (weighted to 9,561) was used. Two independently chosen samples were combined to form the total sample: (1) a sample of 761 segments (clusters of approximately four housing units) selected at the overall rate of 1 in 22,250 for the 1971 Quality of Life sample, and (2) a new sample of 549 segments (clusters of approximately four housing units) selected at the overall rate of 1 in 35,490 for the 1978 Quality of Life sample. The combined samples include approximately 4,870 households (occupied housing units). Even though each of the two samples is located in 74 primary areas, they are not in all cases the same 74 areas. In 1971 the SMSA definitions and population counts that determined selection probabilities were those reported for the 1960 Census. In 1972 the sample of primary areas was revised to incorporate 1970 SMSA definitions and population counts. Nine of the 1971 sample points were dropped and nine others added in the revision process. The 1978 household sample was selected from the revised primary area sample. When the two samples (1971 and 1978) are combined, there are 83 different sample points located in 37 states and Washington DC. First stage stratification of SMSAs and counties was carried out independently within each of the four major geographical regions -- Northeast, North Central, South and West -- each of which received representation in proportion to population.
Collection Mode
  • Some inconsistencies (primarily in the series of variables concerning the events from 1973-1978) still exist. When checked, it was found that these inconsistencies accurately reflected the information given by the respondents.

This study is freely available to ICPSR member institutions via web download.
Alternative Identifiers
  • 7762 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Walls, Stephanie Mora. The Impact of Individualism on Political and Community Participation. Dissertation, University of Cincinnati. 2007.
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  • Oakman, Elizabeth Werth. Is it true what they say about Dixie: Regional and racial differences in subjective measures of quality of life. Dissertation, University of South Carolina. 2000.
  • Chatters, Linda M., Taylor, Robert Joseph, Lincoln, Karen D.. African American religious participation: A multi-sample comparison. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.38, (1), 132-145.1999.
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  • Meng, Xiao-Li, Schilling, Stephen. Fitting full-information item factor models and an empirical investigation of bridge sampling. Journal of the American Statistical Association.29, (3), 16 -1996.
  • Levin, Jeffrey S., Taylor, Robert Joseph, Chatters, Linda M.. Race and Gender Differences in Religiosity Among Older Adults: Findings from Four National Surveys. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences.49, (3), S137-S145.1994.
  • Thomas, Melvin E., Holmes, Bernadette J.. Determinants of satisfaction for blacks and whites. Sociological Quarterly.33, (3), 459-472.1992.
    • ID: 10.1111/j.1533-8525.1992.tb00385.x (DOI)
  • Bundy-Myrow, Susan Joan. Psychosocial aspects of well-being in post-parental stage women. Dissertation, State University of New York at Buffalo. 1991.
  • Ishii-Kuntz, Masako, Ihinger-Tallman, Marilyn. The Subjective Well-Being of Parents. Journal of Family Issues.12, (1), 58-68.1991.
    • ID: 10.1177/019251391012001005 (DOI)
  • Krause, Neal. Stress and isolation from close ties in later life. Journal of Gerontology.46, (4), S183-S194.1991.
  • Krause, Neal. Stressful events and life satisfaction among elderly men and women. Journal of Gerontology.46, (2), S84-S92.1991.
  • Ishii-Kuntz, Masako, Seccombe, Karen. The Impact of Children upon Social Support Networks throughout the Life Course. Journal of Marriage and Family.51, (3), 777-790.1989.
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  • Pescosolido, Bernice A., Georgianna, Sharon. Durkheim, Suicide, and Religion: Toward a Network Theory of Suicide. American Sociological Review.54, (1), 33-48.1989.
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  • Alwin, Duane F.. Distributive Justice and Satisfaction with Material Well-Being. American Sociological Review.52, (1), 83-95.1987.
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  • Brody, Charles J., McRae, James A., Jr.. Models for estimating effects of origin, destination, and mobility. Social Forces.66, (1), 208-238.1987.
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  • Umberson, Debra, Hughes, Michael. The Impact of Physical Attractiveness on Achievement and Psychological Well-Being. Social Psychology Quarterly.50, (3), 227-236.1987.
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  • Meddin, Jay R.. Sex differences in depression and satisfaction with self: Findings from a United States national survey. Social Science and Medicine.22, (8), 807-812.1986.
  • Shinn, Doh C.. Education and the Quality of Life in Korea and the United States: A Cross-Cultural Perspective. Public Opinion Quarterly.50, (3), 360-370.1986.
    • ID: 10.1086/268989 (DOI)
  • Thomas, Melvin E., Hughes, Michael. The Continuing Significance of Race: A Study of Race, Class, and Quality of Life in America, 1972-1985. American Sociological Review.51, (6), 830-841.1986.
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  • Alwin, Duane F., Converse, Philip E., Martin, Steven S.. Living Arrangements and Social Integration. Journal of Marriage and Family.47, (2), 319-334.1985.
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  • Funch, Donna P., Marshall, James R.. Measuring Life Stress: Factors Affecting Fall-Off in the Reporting of Life Events. Journal of Health and Social Behavior.25, (4), 453-464.1984.
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  • Herzog, A. Regula, Rodgers, Willard L., Kulka, Richard A.. Interviewing Older Adults: A Comparison of Telephone and Face-to-Face Modalities. Public Opinion Quarterly.47, (3), 405-418.1983.
    • ID: 10.1086/268798 (DOI)
  • Rodgers, Willard L.. Trends in reported happiness within demographically defined subgroups 1957-78. Social Forces.60, (3), 826-842.1982.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Rogers, David L.. Community Services. Rural Society in the United States: Issues for the 1980s.Boulder, CO: Westview Press. 1982.
  • Saindon, Jacqueline Judith. Participation of Industrial Workers in Continuing Education. Dissertation, University of Georgia. 1982.
  • Herzog, A. Regula, Rodgers, Willard L.. Age and satisfaction: Data from several large surveys. Research on Aging.3, (2), 142-165.1981.
    • ID: 10.1177/016402758132002 (DOI)
  • Herzog, A. Regula, Rodgers, Willard L.. The structure of subjective well-being in different age groups. Journal of Gerontology.36, (4), 472-479.1981.
  • Cutler, Neal E.. Age variations in the dimensionality of life satisfaction. Journal of Gerontology.34, (4), 573-578.1979.

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15

Campbell, Angus; Converse, Philip E. (1984): Quality of American Life, 1978. Version 1. Version: v1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.