Preventing Depression in Couples Facing Job Loss, 1996-1998: [Baltimore, Maryland, and Detroit, Michigan]

Resource Type
Dataset : observational data, survey data
  • Price, Richard H. (University of Michigan. Institute for Social Research. Survey Research Center. Michigan Prevention Research Center)
  • Vinokur, Amiram D. (University of Michigan. Institute for Social Research. Survey Research Center. Michigan Prevention Research Center)
  • Howe, George W. (George Washington University. Center for Family Research)
  • Caplan, Robert D. (George Washington University. Center for Family Research)
Other Title
  • Version 1 (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Mental Health
Free Keywords
depression (psychology); domestic partnership; family life; job loss; quality of life; spouses; unemployment
  • Abstract

    The Couples Employment Project (CEP), conducted during 1996 and 1998, was a randomized field study designed to test the effectiveness of an intervention for couples experiencing job loss. The intervention, an eight- workshop series consisting of job search strategy seminars and several sessions focusing specifically on the couple, was intended to prevent depression and deterioration in the quality of family life. This collaborative project was conducted in the Baltimore, Maryland, metropolitan area and the Detroit, Michigan, metropolitan area. During the study period 6,534 couples (job seekers and their spouses/partners) were screened and recruited to the study. One thousand four hundred eighty-seven participants completed a baseline (T1) assessment. Couples who completed the T1 interview were randomly assigned to the experimental (n = 1,070) and control conditions (n = 417). In the experimental condition, couples were offered the chance to participate in the intervention workshop for couples. In the control condition, couples were given no information about the workshop. Within the experimental group, couples were further randomized into two different subgroups. In the first group, interviewers simply described the workshop and provided written materials about it. In the second group, interviewers also provided a 15-minute videotape about the workshop. This random assignment to recruitment condition (presence or absence of recruitment videotape) was used to test the effectiveness of the video in increasing workshop recruitment rates. Because the study design utilized an "intent-to-treat" strategy, researchers sought to collect follow-up data from all study respondents at post-test (time 2 [T2]), six months (time 3 [T3]), and one-year (time 4 [T4]). In addition to obtaining questionnaire measures on behavior, researchers were also interested in using direct observation of behavior to study the effects of the intervention. To this end, an extra wave of data was collected from a sub-sample of respondents between T2 and T3. This wave was referred to as time 2.5 (T2.5). This data collection is comprised of 6 parts. Part 1 is the data for those individuals who completed a screening questionnaire (given at T0), from which the final sample was derived. Each record in Part 1 represents the job seeker. Variables include the job seeker's gender, ethnicity, marital history, number of children in the household, number of weeks unemployed, and the job seeker's and partner's Kessler depression screening score. Parts 2 through 5 (where each record represents the couple) contain data collected during waves T1-T4. While the data presented in Parts 2-5 are by and large similar, it is the organization of these data that makes each part distinct. The data for Part 2 is organized to correspond exactly to the questionnaire items taken from the multitude of survey instruments used throughout the four waves. The variables in Part 3 contain mean scale measures computed using the questionnaire items from Part 2. The variables in this part are arranged by time period. Part 4, known as the Diamond file, is comprised of a subset of the more frequently used variables collected and/or computed in Parts 2 and 3. These variables are arranged by measure. Part 5, also organized by measure, contains the total mean scales along with two sets of sub-indices, which can be useful in structural equation modeling. Demographic variables included are age, sex, education, marital status, race/ethnicity, household income, and number of dependents. The various survey instruments focused on past employment history, re-employment and quality of new job, motivation to seek re-employment, job seeking efficacy, job seeking behaviors and effort, meaning of work (i.e., valence of work), financial measures, mental health outcomes, relationship outcomes, and the partner's expectation of the job seeker. Data for Part 6 is comprised of the survey and observational data collected from the sub-sample of respondents between waves T2 and T3. Variables include a series of questions geared toward the kinds of changes the job seeker and partner wished to see in each other, questions geared toward assessing the skills and knowledge the participants had about job seeking activities, and questions on how the couple handled the stress of a job search. Interviewers' observations of the respondents during various phases of the survey process are also included. Using the System for Coding Interactions in Dyads (SCID), interviewers were able to observe and measure the dimensions of behavior during a couple's problem solving discussions. The behaviors measured were verbal aggression, coerciveness, attempts to influence and control, negativity and conflict, withdrawal, sadness, communication, supportive listening, and positive affect. Both partners in the couple were rated individually on these codes.
  • Methods

    ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection: Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes..
  • Methods

    Response Rates: Among those found to be eligible and invited to participate, the participation rate was 28 percent. The response rates at waves T2, T3, and T4 were 87 percent, 85 percent, and 86 percent, respectively.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS0: Study-Level Files
    • DS1: Screening Data
    • DS2: Multi-Wave Item-Level Data
    • DS3: Multi-Wave Variable-Level Data
    • DS4: Diamond Variable-Level Data
    • DS5: Diamond Sub-Index Data
    • DS6: T2.5 Item- and Variable-Level Data
Temporal Coverage
  • 1996 / 1998
    Time period: 1996--1998
  • 1996-02-26 / 1998-10-07
    Collection date: 1996-02-26--1998-10-07
Geographic Coverage
  • Baltimore
  • Detroit
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Recently unemployed job seekers in metropolitan Baltimore, Maryland, and Detroit, Michigan, who were at least 18 years old, not expecting to be recalled to a previous job, not planning to retire, and living in a committed relationship with a spouse or partner.
The final sample of participants was gathered via purposive sampling. Participants were recruited through state unemployment offices in Michigan and Maryland, which were chosen based on their location and high volume of clients. All job seekers meeting the following screening criteria were invited to participate in the study: (1) currently unemployed and looking for work, (2) not expecting to be recalled to their former job, (3) not on strike, (4) at least 18 years of age, (5) not planning to retire within two years, and (6) part of a couple who were either married or had been living together in a committed relationship for at least four months. Individuals who had severe difficulty with spoken English or who were obviously intoxicated at the time of screening were considered ineligible. While interviewers were able to approach the vast majority of people coming to these offices during the recruitment period, it is important to note that the procedure for recruitment employed in this study did not involve random sampling, since the interviewers were unable to completely enumerate the sampling universe. Respondents meeting the first set of screening criteria were invited to participate in the study. Those who agreed were asked to complete a short self-administered questionnaire at the unemployment office. If the spouse or partner of the job seeker was present, he or she was asked to complete a short questionnaire as well. These questionnaires (given at what was deemed Time 0) were used in the next stage of screening, which assessed potential respondents' level of depressive symptomatology by using the Kessler depression screen, which is comprised of a series of questions on non-specific psychological distress and the level of anxiety and depressive symptoms a person may have experienced in the most recent four-week period. Any job seeker or partner whose depression rating was below seven was targeted for inclusion in the sample. Of the 7,241 who completed the T0 screening instrument, another 707 were found to be ineligible because at least one member of the couple scored above the clinical cut-off on the depression screen or they were found to have misreported the initial screening criteria. A total of 6,534 couples were eligible for participation in the study. Of those couples eligible to participate in the study, 1,487 were enrolled in the study by completing the T1 questionnaire and interview, thus comprising the final study sample. For wave T2.5, researchers used a proportional random sampling method to create a sample from the pool of all couples who completed the T1 interviews.
2006-01-18 File CQ3567.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.2005-12-15 On 2005-08-15 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-12-15 to reflect these additions. Funding insitution(s): United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Mental Health (R10 MH52913, and R10 MH52817).
This study is freely available to ICPSR member institutions via web download.
Alternative Identifiers
  • 3567 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Vinokur, Amiram D., Schul, Yaacov. The Web of Coping Resources and Pathways to Reemployment Following a Job Loss. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.7, (1), 68-83.2002.
    • ID: 10.1037/1076-8998.7.1.68 (DOI)

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