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Evolving Sources of Happiness for Men over the Life Cycle: A Structural Analysis

Joseph Harry
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 38, No. 2 (May, 1976), pp. 289-296
DOI: 10.2307/350388
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/350388
Page Count: 8
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Evolving Sources of Happiness for Men over the Life Cycle: A Structural Analysis
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Abstract

Participation in the diverse institutional spheres of industrial society requires that individuals coordinate their competing obligations in varying ways at different stages of the life cycle. Because of the rigidity of the work commitments of males it seems that they tend to change their definitions of happiness, rather than their behaviors. Happiness is constantly redefined to be consistent with one's positions in the different institutional spheres. During the stage of being a parent to young and school-age children, men tend to define happiness in terms of family life. During earlier and later family stages men look beyond the family for sources of satisfaction. Using a national probability sample, items reflecting satisfaction with a variety of institutional areas were correlated with a measure of overall happiness for each of six family stages. It was found that the principal correlates of happiness vary as one proceeds through the family life cycle.

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