Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 1179–1196

Subjective Well-Being of Older African Americans with DSM IV Psychiatric Disorders

  • Tina L. Peterson
  • Linda M. Chatters
  • Robert Joseph Taylor
  • Ann W. Nguyen
Research Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10902-013-9470-7

Cite this article as:
Peterson, T.L., Chatters, L.M., Taylor, R.J. et al. J Happiness Stud (2014) 15: 1179. doi:10.1007/s10902-013-9470-7


This study examined demographic and mental health correlates of subjective well-being (i.e., life satisfaction, happiness) using a national sample of older African Americans with psychiatric disorders. We used a subsample of 185 African Americans, 55 and older with at least one of thirteen lifetime psychiatric disorders from The National Survey of American Life: Coping with Stress in the Twenty-first Century. The findings indicated that among this population of older adults who had a lifetime psychiatric disorder, having a lifetime suicidal ideation was associated with life satisfaction but not happiness. Further, having a 12-month anxiety disorder or a lifetime suicidal ideation was not associated with happiness. Having a 12-month mood disorder, however, was negatively associated with an individual’s level of happiness, as well as their life satisfaction. Additionally, there were two significant interactions. Among men, employment was positively associated with life satisfaction, and marriage was associated with higher levels of happiness among men but not women. The overall pattern of findings reflects both similarities and departures from prior research confirming that well-being evaluations are associated with multiple factors.


Life satisfactionHappinessDepressionAnxiety disorderMood disorderMental healthSuicidal ideation

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tina L. Peterson
    • 1
  • Linda M. Chatters
    • 2
  • Robert Joseph Taylor
    • 3
  • Ann W. Nguyen
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Social WorkWestern Kentucky UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  2. 2.School of Public Health, School of Social WorkUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.School of Social Work, Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychology, School of Social WorkUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA