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Marital Instability Over the Life Course [United States]: A Five-Wave Panel Study, 1980, 1983, 1988, 1992-1994, 1997

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • Booth, Alan (Pennsylvania State University)
Other Title
  • Version 1 (Subtitle)
Collective Title
  • Marital Instability Over the Life Course/Work and Family Life Study Series
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging
Free Keywords
aging; career goals; caregiver burden; divorce; dual career couples; expectations; family life; family work relationship; gender roles; health; life events; life plans; marital instability; marital satisfaction; marriage; mental health; occupational status; parent child relationship; personal finances; work attitudes
  • Abstract

    To examine the causes of marital instability throughout the life course, five waves of data were collected between 1980 and 1997 from married individuals who were between the ages of 18 and 55 in 1980. Information collected in 1980 (Wave I) focused on the effects of wives' participation in the labor force on marriage and marital instability. Measures predicting marital instability and divorce and assessing marital quality were developed. Variables include information on earnings, commitment to work, hours worked, and occupational status. The focus of Wave II, conducted in 1983, was to link changes in factors such as economic resources, wife's employment, presence of children, marital satisfaction, life goals, and health to actions intended to dissolve a marriage, such as divorce and permanent separation. Information on adjustment to marital dissolution, relationship with in-laws, size of home, parents' employment, use of free time, club membership, child-care arrangements, and responsibility for chores was gathered. Wave III, collected in 1988, further examined the impact of changes in employment, economics, and health on marital relationships. Questions were asked about divorce and remarriage, investment of energy and resource use in the care of aging parents and dependent offspring, asset value, awareness of aging, mental health issues, and history of disease. In 1992, a fourth wave of data was collected to look at changes in employment, economics, and health. Questions were asked about retirement issues, family structure, and the impact of caring for aging parents while at the same time caring for dependent offspring. Data were also collected in 1992 and 1994 from adult offspring who were living in the household in 1980 and had reached age 19 by 1992, thus providing parallel measures with their parents regarding the quality of parent-child relationships, attitudes, and support along with exploring the impact of childhood experiences on the transition to adult life. In 1997, the fifth wave was collected and interviews were conducted with a second sample of adult offspring (N=202) along with second interviews of offspring selected in 1992 (N=606). Wave 5 also examines the relationship between marital quality and stability and how it relates to changes in marital quality later in life. Among the variables included in all five waves are age, sex, educational attainment, marital status and history, attitude toward divorce, number of children, religious affiliation, and income level.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS0: Study-Level Files
    • DS1: Data File
    • DS2: Codebook for Waves I, II, III: 1980, 1983, 1988
    • DS3: Codebook for Wave IV: 1992 and 1994
    • DS4: Codebook for Wave V: 1997
Temporal Coverage
  • Time period: 1980
  • Time period: 1983
  • Time period: 1988
  • 1992 / 1994
    Time period: 1992--1994
  • Time period: 1997
  • Collection date: 1980
  • Collection date: 1983
  • Collection date: 1988
  • 1992 / 1994
    Collection date: 1992--1994
  • Collection date: 1997
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
All intact marriages in the continental United States with partners between the ages of 18 and 55 in 1980 and living in households with telephones.
National probability sample. The sample was selected using a random-digit dialing cluster technique. Data were weighted to adjust for underrepresentation in metropolitan areas.
Collection Mode
  • Because of additional cleaning of the data performed by the principal investigator, this data collection supersedes earlier versions (ICPSR 9199, ICPSR 9200, and ICPSR 9747).

    In ICPSR's processing of this collection, missing data codes defined by the principal investigators were left unchanged at their request, and SAS and SPSS system missing data were assigned numeric codes for each variable. Also, an unmarried case in Wave I was deleted at the principal investigators' request.

    The codebooks are provided by the principal investigator and the user guide for Wave V is provided by ICPSR.

2001-09-20 Data for Wave 5 (1997) has been provided by the principal investigator, along with a PDF codebook and a user guide. Corresponding SAS and SPSS data definition statements were also added. Funding insitution(s): United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging (1-RO1-AGO4146).
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
  • 2163 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR02163.v2
  • Welch-Groves, Shannon T.. The Influence of Parental Religiosity on Parent-Child Relationship Satisfaction. Dissertation, University of Northern Colorado. 2007.
  • Myers, Scott M.. Religion and Intergenerational Assistance: Distinct Differences by Adult Children's Gender and Parent's Marital Status. Sociological Quarterly.45, (1), 67-89.2004.
    • ID: 10.1111/j.1533-8525.2004.tb02398.x (DOI)
  • King, Valarie. Parental divorce and interpersonal trust in adult offspring. Journal of Marriage and Family.64, (3), 642 -2002.
    • ID: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2002.00642.x (DOI)
  • Myers, Scott M., Booth, Alan. Forerunners of change in nontraditional gender ideology. Social Psychology Quarterly.65, (1), 18-27.2002.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Amato, Paul R., DeBoer, Danelle D.. The transmission of marital instability across generations: Relationship skills or commitment to marriage?. Journal of Marriage and Family.63, (4), 1038 -2001.
    • ID: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2001.01038.x (DOI)
  • Amato, Paul R., Sobolewski, Juliana M.. The effects of divorce and marital discord on adult children's psychological well-being. American Sociological Review.66, (6), 900-921.2001.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Booth, Alan, Amato, Paul R.. Parental predivorce relations and offspring postdivorce well-being. Journal of Marriage and Family.63, (1), 197 -2001.
    • ID: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2001.00197.x (DOI)
  • Rogers, Stacy J., DeBoer, Danelle D.. Changes in wives' income: Effects on marital happiness, psychological well-being, and the risk of divorce. Journal of Marriage and Family.63, (2), 458 -2001.
    • ID: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2001.00458.x (DOI)
  • Van Laningham, Jody, Johnson, David R., Amato, Paul R.. Marital happiness, marital duration, and the U-shaped curve: Evidence from a five-wave panel study. Social Forces.79, (4), 1313-1341.2001.
    • ID: 10.1353/sof.2001.0055 (DOI)
  • Knoester, Chris, Booth, Alan. Barriers to divorce: When are they effective? When are they not?. Journal of Family Issues.21, (1), 78-99.2000.
    • ID: 10.1177/019251300021001004 (DOI)
  • Myers, Scott M.. Moving into Adulthood: Family Residential Mobility and First-Union Transitions. Social Science Quarterly.81, (3), 782-797.2000.
  • Rogers, Stacy J., Amato, Paul R.. Have changes in gender relations affected marital quality?. Social Forces.79, (2), 731-753.2000.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Wang, Honguy, Amato, Paul R.. Predictors of divorce adjustment: Stressors, resources, and definitions. Journal of Marriage and Family.62, (3), 655 -2000.
    • ID: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2000.00655.x (DOI)
  • Argue, Amy, Johnson, David R., White, Lynn K.. Age and religiosity: Evidence from a three-wave panel analysis. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.38, (3), 423-435.1999.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Grzywacz, Joseph G.. Growing up healthy: The ecology of child well-being. Family Relations.48, (4), 433-435.1999.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Myers, Scott M.. Residential mobility as a way of life: Evidence of intergenerational similarities. Journal of Marriage and Family.61, (4), 871-880.1999.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Rogers, Stacy J.. Wives' income and marital quality: Are there reciprocal effects?. Journal of Marriage and Family.61, (1), 123-132.1999.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Johnson, David R., Booth, Alan. Marital Quality: A Product of the Dyadic Environment or Individual Factors?. Social Forces.76, (3), 883-904.1998.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Rogers, Stacy J., White, Lynn K.. Satisfaction with parenting: The role of marital happiness, family structure, and parents' gender. Journal of Marriage and Family.60, (2), 293-309.1998.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Amato, Paul R., Booth, Alan. A Generation At Risk: Growing Up in an Era of Family Upheaval. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 1997.
  • Amato, Paul R., Rogers, Stacy J.. A longitudinal study of marital problems and subsequent divorce. Journal of Marriage and Family.59, (3), 612-624.1997.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Myers, Scott M.. Marital Uncertainty and Childbearing. Social Forces.75, (4), 1271-1289.1997.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Rogers, Stacy J., Amato, Paul R.. Is Marital Quality Declining? The Evidence from Two Generations. Social Forces.75, (3), 1089-1100.1997.
    • ID: (URL)
  • White, Lynn K., Rogers, Stacy J.. Strong support but uneasy relationships: Coresidence and adult children's relationships with their parents. Journal of Marriage and Family.59, (1), 62-76.1997.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Zuo, Jiping. The effect of men's breadwinner status on their changing gender beliefs. Sex Roles.37, (9/10), 799-816.1997.
    • ID: 10.1007/BF02936340 (DOI)
  • Amato, Paul R.. Explaining the intergenerational transmission of divorce. Journal of Marriage and Family.58, (3), 628-640.1996.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Amato, Paul R., Booth, Alan. A prospective study of divorce and parent-child relationships. Journal of Marriage and Family.58, (2), 356-365.1996.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Matthews, Lisa S., Wickrama, K.A.S., Conger, Rand D.. Predicting marital instability from spouse and observer reports of marital interaction. Journal of Marriage and Family.58, (3), 641-655.1996.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Myers, Scott M.. An interactive model of religiosity inheritance: The importance of family context. American Sociological Review.61, (5), 858-866.1996.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Amato, Paul R., Loomis, Laura Spencer, Booth, Alan. Parental Divorce, Marital Conflict, and Offspring Well-being during Early Adulthood. Social Forces.73, (3), 895-915.1995.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Booth, Alan, Johnson, David R., Branaman, Ann, Sica, Alan. Belief and behavior: Does relgion matter in today's marriage?. Journal of Marriage and Family.57, (3), 661-671.1995.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Johnson, David R.. Alternative methods for the quantitative analysis of panel data in family research: Pooled time-series models. Journal of Marriage and Family.57, (4), 1065-1077.1995.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Loomis, Laura Spencer, Booth, Alan. Multigenerational Caregiving and Well-Being: The Myth of the Beleaguered Sandwich Generation. Journal of Family Issues.16, (2), 131-148.1995.
    • ID: 10.1177/019251395016002001 (DOI)
  • Booth, Alan, Amato, Paul R.. Parental gender role nontraditionalism and offspring outcomes. Journal of Marriage and Family.56, (4), 865-877.1994.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Booth, Alan, Amato, Paul R.. Parental marital quality, parental divorce, and relations with parents. Journal of Marriage and Family.56, (1), 21-34.1994.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Booth, Alan, Amato, Paul R., Johnson, David R., Edwards, John N.. Marital Instability over the Life Course: Methodology Report for Fourth Wave. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Sociology. 1993.
  • White, Lynn K., Kim, Hyunju. The Family-Building Process: Childbearing Choices by Parity. Journal of Marriage and Family.49, (2), 271-279.1987.
    • ID: (URL)

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 3 | Registration Date: 2015-06-30

Booth, Alan (1998): Marital Instability Over the Life Course [United States]: A Five-Wave Panel Study, 1980, 1983, 1988, 1992-1994, 1997. Version 1. Marital Instability Over the Life Course/Work and Family Life Study Series. Version: v1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.