Changing Lives of Older Couples (CLOC): A Study of Spousal Bereavement in the Detroit Area, 1987-1993

Resource Type
Dataset : clinical data, survey data
  • Nesse, Randolph M. (University of Michigan)
  • Wortman, Camille (State University of New York-Stony Brook)
  • House, James (University of Michigan)
  • Kessler, Ron (Harvard University)
  • Lepkowski, James (University of Michigan)
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging
Free Keywords
death of spouse; depression (psychology); families; grief; life events; loss adjustment; older adults; psychological wellbeing; religion; social networks; social support; spouses
  • Abstract

    Changing Lives of Older Couples (CLOC) is a large multi-wave prospective study of spousal bereavement. Face-to-face baseline interviews with married older adults in the Detroit, Michigan standardized metropolitan statistical area (SMSA) were conducted between June 1987 and April 1988, and follow-up interviews were conducted at six months (Wave 1), 18 months (Wave 2), and 48 months (Wave 3) after a spouse's death. Each widowed person was assigned a same-age, same-sex, same-race matched control from the baseline sample. Controls were interviewed again at each of the three follow-ups as well. Spousal loss was monitored using state-provided monthly death records and through daily obituaries from local area newspapers. The National Death Index (NDI) and direct ascertainment of death certificates were used to confirm all deaths. The primary strength of the CLOC study is its ability to measure spousal bereavement quantitatively. For this purpose a global grief scale and six grief subscales, unique to the CLOC study, were prepared. Depression was measured for all respondents with conceptualizations of depression at each wave, as well as major depressive episodes according to DSM-III-R criteria. Other survey questions focused on the social, psychological, and physical functioning of older adults (e.g., demographic, financial, housing, life events, social support, work and activities, marriage and family, religion, health and well-being). For a portion of the respondents (n = 432) in what was referred to as the MacBat study, various biomedical indicators (motor and cognitive, physiological, endocrinological and biochemical) were measured as well. The CLOC study has been subset into four primary datasets. The core, or Complete, dataset (Part 1) contains all available variables from all four waves of the study (Baseline, W1, W2, W3) for the entire sample of 1,532 persons (excluding clones, the 13 individuals who initially participated in a follow-up interview as control subjects, but who subsequently experienced spousal loss, and then entered the study as bereaved subjects). The Baseline Only dataset (Part 2) contains all variables collected at the baseline interview (V1-V957) for the entire sample of 1,532 persons (excluding clones). It also contains the baseline physiological variables (V20001-V20991) from the subsample of 432 persons who also participated in the baseline MacBat portion of the study. The Widowed-Controls Only datasets (Parts 3 and 4) contain all available data from anyone who participated as either a widowed person or a control subject in at least one of the three CLOC follow-up surveys (W1, W2, W3). This dataset is available with or without clones (n = 558 subjects including clones, and n= 545 excluding clones). The Couples Only dataset (Part 5) contains data collected from both the husband and the wife of 423 couples (n = 846) and includes all available data from all four waves of data collection (baseline, W1, W2, W3). Each record contains data for the wife (the "V" variables) and data for the husband (the "S" variables). A Clones Only dataset (Part 6) is also included for the advanced user and contains data for the 13 individuals identified as clones. A case-control matched design is recommended for analysis of the Clones Only data.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS0: Study-Level Files
    • DS1: CLOC Data Complete
    • DS2: CLOC Baseline Only
    • DS3: CLOC Widowed and Controls Only with Clones
    • DS4: CLOC Widowed and Controls Only No Clones
    • DS5: CLOC Couples Only
    • DS6: CLOC Clones Only
Temporal Coverage
  • 1987 / 1993
    Time period: 1987--1993
  • 1987 / 1993
    Collection date: 1987--1993
Geographic Coverage
  • Detroit
  • Michigan
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Noninstitutionalized, English-speaking married couples capable of participating in a two-hour face-to-face interview, in which the husband was at least age 65, from the Detroit, Michigan, standardized metropolitan statistical area (SMSA).
Two-stage area probability sample of 1,532 married men and women. Women were oversampled in an effort to maximize the number of bereaved subjects.
Collection Mode
  • The availability of these data is made possible by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (Randolph M. Nesse, Principal Investigator, AG15948-01). The original data collection for the CLOC study was supported by NIA grants (Camille B. Wortman, Principal Investigator, AG610757-01, and James S. House, Principal Investigator, AG05561-01).

    Users are encouraged to check the CLOC Web site at for additional information.

2006-01-18 File QU3370.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads. Funding insitution(s): United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging (P.I., AG15948-01, AG610757-01, and AG05561-01).
This version of the study is no longer available on the web. If you need to acquire this version of the data, you have to contact ICPSR User Support (
Alternative Identifiers
  • 3370 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR03370.v1
  • Shah, Shruti, Meeks, Suzanne. Late-life bereavement and complicated grief: A proposed comprehensive framework. Aging and Mental Health.16, (1), 39-56.2012.
    • ID: 10.1080/13607863.2011.605054 (DOI)
  • Gelernter, Judith, Lesk, Michael. Use of ontologies for data integration and curation. International Journal of Digital Curation.1, (6), 70-78.2011.
  • Ha, J.-H., Ingersoll-Dayton, B.. Moderators in the relationship between social contact and psychological distress among widowed adults. Aging and Mental Health.15, (3), 354-363.2011.
    • ID: 10.1080/13607863.2010.519325 (DOI)
  • Kim, Su Hyun, Kjervik, Diane, Belyea, Michael, Choi, Eun Sook. Personal strength and finding meaning in conjugally bereaved older adults: A four-year prospective analysis. Death Studies.35, (3), 197-218.2011.
    • ID: 10.1080/07481187.2010.518425 (DOI)
  • Ko, Linda K., Lewis, Megan A.. The role of giving and receiving emotional support in depressive symptomatology among older couples: An application of the actor-partner interdependence model. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.28, (1), 83-99.2011.
    • ID: 10.1177/0265407510387888 (DOI)
  • Mancini, Anthony D., Prati, Gabriele, Bonanno, George A.. Do shattered worldviews lead to complicated grief? Prospective and longitudinal analyses. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.30, (2), 184-215.2011.
    • ID: 10.1521/jscp.2011.30.2.184 (DOI)
  • Tweed, Roger G., Tweed, Cara J.. Positive emotion following spousal bereavement: Desirable or pathological?. Journal of Positive Psychology.6, (2), 131-141.2011.
    • ID: 10.1080/17439760.2011.558846 (DOI)
  • Abakoumkin, Georgios, Stroebe, Wolfgang, Stroebe, Margaret. Does relationship quality moderate the impact of marital bereavement on depressive symptoms?. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.29, (5), 510-526.2010.
    • ID: 10.1521/jscp.2010.29.5.510 (DOI)
  • Bergman, Elizabeth J., Haley, William E., Small, Brent J.. The role of grief, anxiety, and depressive symptoms in the use of bereavement services. Death Studies.34, 441-458.2010.
    • ID: 10.1080/07481181003697746 (DOI)
  • Coleman, Rachel A., Neimeyer, Robert A.. Measuring meaning: searching for and making sense of spousal loss in late-life. Death Studies.34, (9), 804-834.2010.
    • ID: 10.1080/07481181003761625 (DOI)
  • Ha, Jung-Hwa. The effects of positive and negative support from children on widowed older adults' psychological adjustment: A longitudinal analysis. Gerontologist.50, (4), 471-481.2010.
    • ID: 10.1093/geront/gnp163 (DOI)
  • Pai, Manacy, Carr, Deborah. Do personality traits moderate the effect of late-life spousal loss on psychological distress?: Social relationships and health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior.51, (2), 183-199.2010.
    • ID: 10.1177/0022146510368933 (DOI)
  • Stroebe, W., Abakoumkin, G., Stroebe, M.. Beyond depression: Yearning for the loss of a loved one. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying.61, (2), 85-101.2010.
    • ID: 10.2190/OM.61.2.a (DOI)
  • Carr, D., Boerner, K.. Do Spousal discrepancies in marital quality assessments affect psychological adjustment to widowhood?. Journal of Marriage and Family.71, (3), 495-509.2009.
    • ID: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00615.x (DOI)
  • Carr, Deborah. Who's to blame? Perceived responsibility for spousal death and psychological distress among older widowed persons. Journal of Health and Social Behavior.50, (3), 359-375.2009.
    • ID: 10.1177/002214650905000308 (DOI)
  • Kim, S.H.. The influence of finding meaning and worldview of accepting death on anger among bereaved older spouses. Aging and Mental Health.13, (1), 38-45.2009.
    • ID: 10.1080/13607860802154457 (DOI)
  • Robison, Michelle M.. The Effects of Social Support on Mental, Physical, and Functional Health Outcomes in Widowed Older Adults. Dissertation, California State University, Fullerton. 2009.
  • Romo, Daniel. The Role of Death Philosophy in Psychological Adjustment to Widowhood in Later Life. Masters thesis, California State University, Fullerton. 2009.
  • Bergman, Elizabeth J.. Service Utilization among Bereaved Spouses and Family Caregivers. Dissertation, University of South Florida. 2008.
  • Brown, S.L., Brown, R.M., House, J.S., Smith, D.M.. Coping with spousal loss: Potential buffering effects of self-reported helping behavior. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.34, (6), 849-861.2008.
    • ID: 10.1177/0146167208314972 (DOI)
  • Ha, Jung-Hwa. Changes in support from confidants, children, and friends following widowhood. Journal of Marriage and Family.70, (2), 306-318.2008.
    • ID: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2008.00483.x (DOI)
  • Ha, Jung-Hwa, Ingersoll-Dayton, Berit. The effect of widowhood on intergenerational ambivalence. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences.63, (1), S49-S58.2008.
    • ID: 10.1093/geronb/63.1.S49 (DOI)
  • Jacoby, Diana. The Impact of Marital History and Formal and Informal Social Support on the Grief of Widowed Older Adults. Dissertation, California State University, Fullerton. 2008.
  • Keene, Jennifer Reid, Prokos, Anastasia H.. Widowhood and the end of spousal care-giving: Relief or wear and tear?. Ageing and Society.28, (4), 551-570.2008.
    • ID: 10.1017/S0144686X07006654 (DOI)
  • Nuriddin, T.A., Perrucci, C.C.. Surviving widowhood: Gender and race effects on health-related coping strategies. Advances in Gender Research.12, 197-215.2008.
    • ID: 10.1016/S1529-2126(08)12011-2 (DOI)
  • Nuriddin, Tariqah A.. Weathering the Storm: Self-efficacy, Social Support Processes, and Health-related Coping Strategies among the Detroit-area Widowed. Dissertation, Purdue University. 2008.
  • Zettel-Watson, Laura, Britton, Michael, Ferraro, F. Richard. The impact of obesity on the social participation of older adults. Journal of General Psychology.135, (4), 409-423.2008.
    • ID: 10.3200/GENP.135.4.409-424 (DOI)
  • Britton, Michael. The Effects of Obesity on Social Participation in an Older Adult Population. California State University, Fullerton. 2007.
  • Holley, C.K., Mast, B.T.. The effects of widowhood and vascular risk factors on late-life depression. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.15, (8), 690-698.2007.
    • ID: 10.1097/JGP.0b013e3180311209 (DOI)
  • Lee, Min-Ah, Carr, Deborah. Does the context of spousal loss affect the physical functioning of older widowed persons? A longitudinal analysis. Research on Aging.29, (5), 457-487.2007.
    • ID: 10.1177/0164027507303171 (DOI)
  • Rhee, Nina H.. Easing the Transition to Widowhood. Dissertation, University of Michigan. 2007.
  • Richardson, Virginia E.. A dual process model of grief counseling: Findings from the Changing Lives of Older Couples (CLOC) Study. Journal of Gerontological Social Work.48, (3-4), 311-329.2007.
    • ID: 10.1300/J083v48n03_03 (DOI)
  • Burton, A.M., Haley, W.E., Small, B.J.. Bereavement after caregiving or unexpected death: Effects on elderly spouses. Aging and Mental Health.10, (3), 319-326.2006.
    • ID: 10.1080/13607860500410045 (DOI)
  • Ha, Jung-Hwa. Determinants and Consequences of Changing Social Support Following Late-life Widowhood. Dissertation, University of Michigan. 2006.
  • Ha, Jung-Hwa, Carr, Deborah, Utz, Rebecca L., Nesse, Randolph. Older adults' perceptions of intergenerational support after widowhood: How do men and women differ?. Journal of Family Issues.27, (1), 3-30.2006.
    • ID: 10.1177/0192513X05277810 (DOI)
  • Boerner, Kathrin, Wortman, Camille B., Bonanno, George A.. Resilient or at Risk? A 4-Year Study of Older Adults Who Initiallly Showed High or Low Distress Following Conjugal Loss. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences.60B, (2), 67-73.2005.
    • ID: 10.1093/geronb/60.2.P67 (DOI)
  • Ha, Jung-Hwa, Carr, Deborah. The Effect of Parent-Child Geographic Proximity on Widowed Parents' Psychological Adjustment and Social Integration. Research on Aging.27, (5), 578-610.2005.
    • ID: 10.1177/0164027505277977 (DOI)
  • Prokos, Anastasia H., Keene, Jennifer Reid. The long-term effects of spousal care giving on survivors' well-being in widowhood. Social Science Quarterly.86, (3), 664-682.2005.
    • ID: 10.1111/j.0038-4941.2005.00323.x (DOI)
  • Stroebe, Wolfgang, Zech, Emmanuelle, Stroebe, Margaret S., Abakoumkin, Georgios. Does social support help in bereavement?. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.24, (7), 1030-1050.2005.
    • ID: 10.1521/jscp.2005.24.7.1030 (DOI)
  • Brown, Stephanie L., House, James S., Nesse, Randolph M., Utz, Rebecca L.. Religion and emotional compensation: results from a prospective study of widowhood. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.30, (9), 1165-1174.2004.
    • ID: 10.1177/0146167204263752 (DOI)
  • Carr, Deborah. Gender, Preloss Marital Dependence, and Older Adults' Adjustment to Widowhood. Journal of Marriage and Family.66, (1), 220-235.2004.
    • ID: 10.1111/j.0022-2445.2004.00016.x (DOI)
  • Carr, Deborah. The desire to date and remarry among older widows and widowers. Journal of Marriage and Family.66, (4), 1051-1068.2004.
    • ID: 10.1111/j.0022-2445.2004.00078.x (DOI)
  • Carr, Deborah S.. Black/White Differences in Psychological Adjustment to Spousal Loss Among Older Adults. Research on Aging.26, (6), 591-622.2004.
    • ID: 10.1177/0164027504268495 (DOI)
  • Utz, Rebecca L., Reidy, Erin B., Carr, Deborah, Nesse, Randolph, Wortman, Camille. The daily consequences of widowhood: The role of gender and intergenerational transfers on subsequent housework performance. Journal of Family Issues.25, (5), 683-712.2004.
    • ID: 10.1177/0192513X03257717 (DOI)
  • Williams, Kristi. The transition to widowhood and the social regulation of health: Consequences for health and health risk behavior. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences.59B, (6), S343-S349.2004.
    • ID: 10.1093/geronb/59.6.S343 (DOI)
  • Brown, S.L., Nesse, R.M., Vinokur, A.D., Smith, D.M.. Providing social support may be more beneficial than receiving it: Results from a prospective study of mortality. Psychological Science.14, (4), 320-327.2003.
    • ID: 10.1111/1467-9280.14461 (DOI)
  • Carr, Deborah. A 'good death' for whom? Quality of spouse's death and psychological distress among older widowed persons. Journal of Health and Social Behavior.44, (2), 215 -2003.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Bonanno, George A., Wortman, Camille B., Lehman, Darrin R., Tweed, Roger G., Haring, Michelle, Sonnega, John, Carr, Deborah, Neese, Randolph. Resilience to loss and chronic grief: A prospective study from preloss to 18-months postloss. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.83, (5), 1150-1164.2002.
    • ID: 10.1037/0022-3514.83.5.1150 (DOI)
  • Carr, Deborah, Utz, Rebecca. Late-life widowhood in the United States: New directions in research and thory. Ageing International.27, (1), 65-88.2002.
    • ID: 10.1007/s12126-001-1016-3 (DOI)
  • Utz, R.L., Carr, D., Nesse, R., Wortman, C.B.. The effect of widowhood on older adults' social participation: An evaluation of activity, disengagment, and continuity theories. Gerontologist.42, (4), 522-533.2002.
    • ID: 10.1093/geront/42.4.522 (DOI)
  • Carr, D., House, James S., Wortman, C., Nesse, R., Kessler, Ronald C.. Psychological adjustment to sudden and anticipated spousal loss among older widowed persons. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences.56, (4), S237-S248.2001.
    • ID: 10.1093/geronb/56.4.S237 (DOI)
  • Carr, D., House, James S., Kessler, Ronald C., Nesse, R.M., Sonnega, J., Wortman, C.. Marital quality and psychological adjustment to widowhood among older adults: A longitudinal analysis. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences.55, (4), S197-S207.2000.
    • ID: 10.1093/geronb/55.4.S197 (DOI)

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