Hope and happiness: A comparison of some discrepancies

Research paper by Marjorie A. Stassen, Sara R. Staats

Indexed on: 01 Feb '88Published on: 01 Feb '88Published in: Social Indicators Research


This paper presents a comparison of Canadian and American university students on happiness and satisfaction as measured by the Satisfaction and Happiness Survey (Michalos, 1985). For the American sample, the findings for other measures of satisfaction and happiness, as well as for hope as measured by the Hope Index (Staats and Stassen, 1986), are also reported. American students had slightly higher means on both overall satisfaction and happiness with life as a whole than the Canadian students. The greatest perceived gap for American students was between what one has now and expects to have in the future while for Canadian students it was between what one has and what one needs. Both Canadian and American students reported greatest satisfaction with health and lowest satisfaction with financial security and paid employment. For the American sample, of the other satisfaction, happiness, and hope measures, a global happiness measure had the highest correlation with both overall satisfaction (r=0.62, p<0.0001) and happiness with life as a whole (r=0.55, p<0.0001). Reasons for the observed differences between the two samples are suggested and future research directions are discussed.