Determinants of Divorce (Pilot Study)

Resource Type
Dataset : Survey and aggregate data
  • Esser, Hartmut (Lehrstuhl für Soziologie und Wissenschaftslehre, Universität Mannheim)
  • von Gotomski, Christian B. (Mannheimer Zentrum für europäische Sozialforschung (MZES), Mannheim)
  • Diefenbach, Heike (Mannheimer Zentrum für europäische Sozialforschung (MZES), Mannheim)
  • Hartmann, Jürgen (Mannheimer Zentrum für europäische Sozialforschung (MZES), Mannheim)
  • Kopp, Johannes (Mannheimer Zentrum für europäische Sozialforschung (MZES), Mannheim)
Publication Date
  • GFM-GETAS, Hamburg (Data Collector)
  • ZA:
    • Family
  • CESSDA Topic Classification:
    • Employment
    • Family life and marriage
    • Gender and gender roles
    • Economic conditions and indicators
  • Abstract

    Information on the course of partner relations and marriages. Judgement on the relation or relations. Topics: detailed information on chronology of first relation: meeting, start of steady relation, moving together in a common residence, engagement, registry office as well as church wedding and (if appropriate) divorce; information on respondent and spouse regarding: number of previous steady relations, previously living together with a partner, time of termination of the earlier partnership, assessment of sexual prior experiences, children from earlier relations, financial obligations regarding earlier partners and contact with earlier partners; information on respondent as well as spouse regarding place of residence before start of the relation, prospects of finding a partner, putting an advertisement for a marriage partner in the paper or responding to one and utilization of an agency to find a partner; self-assessment of opportunities to find a partner as well as assessment of desireability of partner (scale); circumstances or place of meeting the partner; initiator of meeting; assessment of the agreement of ways of life, general moral concepts, character traits and sexuality at the beginning of the steady relation and information on speed, point in time and result of changes; assessment of political orientation of partner and self-assessment on a left-right continuum at the beginning of the partnership; information on respondent and spouse regarding frequency of church attendance, number of desired children, employment intent and expectations of spouse regarding taking on employment; attitude to marriage and role expectation (scale) of respondent as well as spouse; persons advising for first marriage and current marriage; ´marriage wave´ in one´s circle of friends at the time of personal marriage; attitude of first spouse to marriage at that point in time; material advantages as reason for the marriage; pregnancy at marriage decision; pregnancy planned by respondent as well as spouse at marriage decision; common children at marriage decision; information on circle of friends of the two spouses and development of a common circle of friends; social proximity with parents and parents-in-law from the perspective of respondent and spouse at the time of marriage; relationship of parents of partners among one another; closeness of the spouses to their best friends; detailed information on all children regarding month of birth, year of birth, sex, year of death, common child, planned birth, living in the common residence, point in time of moving out, disability, care of third parties; completion of a special marriage contract; separation of property; possession of house, condominium or property during the first marriage; information on possession of business, common financial investments, purchase of assets, inheritance and gift; judgement on the economic conditions in the marriage for every individual year of marriage; existence of separate bank accounts and mutual power of attorney for bank accounts; point in time of founding the common household; type and extent of division of labor in household at the beginning of common housekeeping; satisfaction of respondent as well as partner with the division of labor; cause, point in time and satisfaction of the two spouses with changes in the division of labor in following years; frequency of conflicts due to the division of labor; attention of spouse as well as of respondent at the start and in the later course of time; satisfaction with course of sexuality at the start and in the later course of time; romantic behavior and trust in partner at the start as well as in the later course of time; attempts to change characteristics and behavior of respondent as well as spouse and outcome of these attempts; information on serious illnesses, injuries, chronic complaints, disabilities and psychological illnesses of respondent as well as spouse and their children; cases of nursing care in one´s family; separation times; cause, time of begin and end of separations in the marriage; frequency of smaller arguments at the beginning of steady relations and in the course of conflicts; serious conflicts in the first year of marriage; number of smouldering conflicts; time of begin of a serious conflict and its content; time of first thinking about failure of the marriage and thoughts of divorce from the perspective of respondent and his first spouse; chronological sequence of conversations of respondent and spouse with friends and with a lawyer about divorce; time of separation of table and bed; initiator of the divorce and the one responsible for the divorce; time of leaving the common residence and moving out by respondent or partner; the one filing for divorce; time of filing for divorce and divorce date; obstacles to divorce from the perspective of respondent as well as from the perspective of spouse (scale); degree of agreement in the divorce; divorce terror; obligation to pay maintenance; satisfaction with support arrangement; custody for children; satisfaction with arrangement of custody; satisfaction with division of assets and general satisfaction with current divorce law; intensity of problems after the divorce; contact with first spouse; point in time of re-marriage of respondent as well as former spouse; attitude to divorce regulation according to the question of blame and to requiring employment of the one obligated to pay maintenance; information on natural father and natural mother of respondent or the step-father or step-mother as well as the natural father and the natural mother of spouse: school degree, vocational training certificate, parents living together in a marital or non-marital long-term relationship, judgement on the relation of parents to one another in their marriage, point in time of possible divorce or separation of parents, point in time of death of parents; having grown up with parents or other child-raising instances; economic conditions of parents of respondent as well as spouse; number of siblings of respondent as well as spouse and proportion of them divorced; moving frequency and moving date during the first marriage; residence in direct proximity of parents or parents-in-law; information on frequency and time of contacts with parents. As forms to be filled out several times during the oral interview questionnaires were handed out and subsequently taken by the interviewer. They contained questions on: miscarriages or still births; number of abortions; point in time of abortion; father; common desire of partner for abortion; evaluation of the relation from the time of begin of steady relation to marriage and evaluation of the marriage for every individual year; information on extra-marital relations of respondent and spouse and their significance for the break up of the marriage; sacrifices by the two spouses of advantages in occupational and financial respect for the sake of the steady relation or marriage; assessment of trust in the continued existence of the relation or later marriage on an annual basis. At various points in time in the course of the interview time measurements were made. In particular the times of the forms to be filled out were recorded. Demography: for both respondent and partner the following was recorded: school degree at time of termination of the time in school as well as at start of steady relation; detailed information on school education and vocational training specifying chronology; length of voluntary social year, military service or community service; courses of training and participation in further education measures; employment since steady relation; detailed information on individual jobs held regarding occupational position, length of the position, arrangement of working hours, number of hours each week and income; assessment of personal difficulties to find employment during the marriage; times of unemployment during the marriage and information on the times and reasons for unemployment; sex; month of birth; year of birth; religious denomination; time of conversion; reason for change of denomination; sex; number of earlier marriages of spouse; termination of first marriage by death or divorce; citizenship of partner at time of marriage and current citizenship; time of change of citizenship; personal citizenship and its change. Interviewer rating: presence of other persons during the interview and their degree of relationship to respondent; interventions of other persons in the interview; willingness to cooperate and reliability of respondent. Also encoded was: length of interview; date of interview; sex of interviewer; age of interviewer; interviewer identification number; origin of address; administrative district; city size.
Temporal Coverage
  • 1993-08 / 1994-02
Geographic Coverage
  • Germany (DE)
    western states of the FRG
Sampled Universe
The sample consists of two sub-populations: a) persons of German citizenship living permanently separated or divorced b) persons of German citizenship in first marriage living together with spouse (without intent of separation)
Sampling Procedure Comment: Random selection according to the random route procedure on the one hand and according to an address screening procedure on the other hand
Collection Mode
  • Oral survey and written survey under supervision with standardized questionnaire
Data and File Information
  • Unit Type: Individual
    Number of Units: 407
    Number of Variables: 1179
The primary investigation of this pilot study is archived under ZA Study No. 3188.
0 - Data and documents are released for everybody.
All metadata from GESIS DBK are available free of restriction under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. However, GESIS requests that you actively acknowledge and give attribution to all metadata sources, such as the data providers and any data aggregators, including GESIS. For further information see
Alternative Identifiers
  • ZA2975 (Type: ZA-No.)

Update Metadata: 2021-04-07 | Issue Number: 87 | Registration Date: 2010-07-22