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Comparing the Anamnestic Comparative Self-Assessment (ACSA) to a Conventional Happiness Question Without Anchoring

Elsy Verhofstadt, Brent Bleys and Luc Van Ootegem ()
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Luc Van Ootegem: Ghent University

Applied Research in Quality of Life, 2019, vol. 14, issue 1, No 12, 237-251

Abstract: Abstract The Anamnestic Comparative Self-Assessment (ACSA) uses a self-anchoring rating scale to measure subjective well-being. Because of its internal frame of reference, ACSA is argued to be less influenced by cultural relativities and psychological traits. We collect survey data in Flanders that contain both a conventional happiness question (CQ) and ACSA. It is the first time that ACSA data are collected in a developed country outside of a clinical setting. In line with previous research, we find that the mean score for ACSA is significantly lower than the mean CQ score and that both scores are positively correlated. Social life (family, relationships, and friends) is cited most when self-anchoring the best period in life, whereas health issues and personal events are most often linked to the worst period in life. These findings add to the idea that the anchors of the ACSA scale are universal. In a simple model, we find that ACSA is determined by two variables that can change over time: being employed and being in a relation. In an extended model, however, ACSA’s insensitivity to socio-demographic variables that are not amenable to change no longer holds and personality traits become important.

Keywords: Well-being; Happiness; ACSA (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1007/s11482-017-9589-5

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