The pairfam COVID-19 survey

Resource Type
Dataset : Survey and aggregate data
  • Walper, Sabine (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Sawatzki, Barbara (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Alt, Philipp (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Reim, Julia (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Schmiedeberg, Claudia (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Thönnissen, Carolin (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Wetzel, Martin (Universität zu Köln)
Publication Date
  • Kantar Public, München (Data Collector)
  • ZA:
    • Society, Culture
    • Family
    • Education, School Systems
    • Person, Personality, Role
  • CESSDA Topic Classification:
    • Family life and marriage
    • Children
    • Health
    • Education
    • Social stratification and groupings
  • Abstract

    The German Family Panel pairfam is a multidisciplinary, longitudinal study on partnership and family dynamics in Germany, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The annually collected survey data from a nationwide random sample of the birth cohorts 1971-73, 1981-83, 1991-93 and – since wave 11 – 2001-03 and their partners, parents and children offer unique opportunities for the analysis of partner and intergenerational relationships as they develop over the course of multiple life phases. A comprehensive description of the conceptual framework and the design of the German Family Panel is given in the concept paper by Huinink et al. (2011). The pairfam COVID-19 survey is an additional, optional online survey covering the COVID-19 situation. It was conducted between May 19th and July 13th, 2020. As a study of family life in Germany, it is particularly well suited to capture the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in private lives and personal relationships. The survey lasted approximately 15 minutes and was conducted by Kantar Public. It was targeted towards all respondents of the pairfam panel, i.e. respondents who were part of the gross sample of wave 12 and had not refused participation. In total, 3,154 anchor persons participated. Given the heterogeneity of age groups as well as the various life stages covered in the pairfam panel, the pairfam COVID-19 survey addressed a broad range of issues relevant for adolescents, young adults, and adults in their late 30s and 40s, as well as single respondents, couples, and parents. The following topics were included: - personal well-being and worries related to the corona crisis - partnership quality and general family climate - for separated families: children’s contact and communication with non-residential parents, and/or anchor’s contact to non-residential children - child care and the division of housework - parents’ experiences in the parenting role - children’s media use and school learning Special modules for younger respondents: - depressiveness, coping with the current conditions, rule compliance - media use, personal contact to friends, and school learning 1. Current situation, household composition, employment: household composition; living together with a partner; current situation at the place of residence (contact restrictions still in place, schools (partially) closed, kindergarten/daycare centre (partially) closed); in each case for the respondent and his/her partner the following was asked: current employment situation or training situation, changes in employment situation and training situation due to the Corona crisis (e.g. short-time work, completely home office, partially home office, etc.); change in net household income in the course of the Corona crisis. 2. Well-being, worries: feelings in the last four weeks: Anger (angry, sour), stress (stressed, overloaded, under pressure), fear/worry (anxious, nervous), activity (energetic, full of energy, active), being alone (alone, lonely); worries about one´s own economic situation, one´s own health, the health of relatives, and with regard to exams or completing education. 3. Partnership and family climate: frequency of personal contact with partner during shutdown; change in frequency of personal contact with partner; frequency of contact with partner in other ways during shutdown (e.g. by phone, chat, video chat); change in frequency of contact with partner in other ways. 4. Relationship quality: frequency of intimacy (telling the partner what is on one´s mind, sharing secrets and innermost feelings with the partner), of appreciation (partner shows recognition and appreciation), of conflicts (angry or upset with each other, different opinions and quarrels); satisfaction with the relationship. 5. Division of labour in the partnership in the following areas: housework, shopping, repairs, financial matters, visits to authorities, childcare. 6. Family climate: comparison of the current family climate with the time before the Corona crisis (happy/having fun together, anxious and worried, stressful and annoyed, cosy and relaxed, quarrelling or thick air). 7. Separated families: Biological external parent present outside the household; frequency of personal contact of the youngest child with the other parent during contact restrictions; change in frequency of personal contact; reasons for change in frequency of contact; frequency of contact of the youngest child with the external parent in other ways during contact restrictions (e.g. by phone, chat, video chat); change in frequency of contact by phone, chat, video chat; satisfaction with this contact or care situation; biological external parent present outside the household; frequency of contact with the other parent during contact restrictions; change in frequency of contact by phone, chat, video chat; satisfaction with this contact or care situation; physical parent present outside the household; change in frequency of contact with the external parent during contact restrictions; change in frequency of contact by phone, chat, video chat; frequency of personal contact with the youngest external child during the contact restrictions; reasons for change in frequency of contact; frequency of contact with the youngest external child by other means during the contact restrictions (e.g. by telephone, chat, video chat); change in frequency of contact with the external child by other means; satisfaction with the contact or care situation for this child. 8. Childcare and parental role: organisation of childcare during daycare and school closure (e.g. children did not need close care, cared for themselves at home without working or in home office, etc.); parental role: feelings of competence (meeting the needs of the child/children, feeling helpless in raising children) and non-specific stresses (exhausting life with child/children, often at the end of their tether). 9. Children in the household: media consumption: screen time of the youngest (or only child) and the oldest child in the household during the daycare and school closure (without time for schoolwork); change in screen time compared to before the Corona crisis; schooling at home: grade level of the youngest school child in the household; child regularly received learning material from school during the school closure; computer, tablet or printer for printing out or computer, tablet or printer needed for printing or editing, or computer, tablet or printer not needed; devices available in the household sufficient for home schooling; time spent on learning tasks per day (in hours); support of the child with the learning tasks (by the respondent, the respondent´s partner, the other parent, siblings, classmates or other persons); assessment of the child´s own support (felt exhausted and overloaded by the task, enjoyment of working on new learning content with the child/children); how well has child/children coped with learning at home. 10. Personal assessment of the Corona pandemic (personally heavily burdened, heavily burdened as a family, time has strengthened cohesion as a family, can also find good sides to this time); burden on the youngest or only child and burden on the eldest child due to the crisis; how well did child/children cope with the situation overall; first activity mentioned after the end of the Corona crisis. 11. Respondents up to 25 years of age were additionally asked: emotional state at the time of the contact restrictions (depressiveness); coping with the current situation (coping): Did everything possible just to keep myself busy, tried to make myself feel better by eating, drinking, smoking or similar, imagined that others were much worse off, talked to someone to learn more about the situation, followed opinions of experts, did something completely new); risky behaviour (meeting others outside own household without need, visiting or getting visits from older relatives or friends, not paying attention to distance rule to people outside own household); media consumption, personal contacts: Screen time per day (in hours); change in screen time compared to pre-Corona crisis; friends: frequency of personal contact with friends; how much friends missed; home schooling: received regular learning from school during school closure; computer, tablet or printer needed to print or edit or computer, tablet or printer not needed; available devices in household sufficient for home schooling; assignments could be worked on alone; assessment of learning at home. Demography: sex; age (month and year of birth). Additionally coded: DemoDiff sample; sample indicator (sample); interview date (day, month, year, calendar week); interview duration; interview access device; sex of anchor person (generated variable); month and year of birth of anchor person (generated variable); inconsistencies (respondent sex and date of birth) between the additional COVID-19 survey and the pairfam panel; weighting factors.
Temporal Coverage
  • 2020-05-19 / 2020-07-15
Geographic Coverage
  • Germany (DE)
Sampled Universe
All German-speaking persons of the following birth cohorts living in private households in the Federal Republic of Germany: - born between 01.01.1991 and 31.12.1993 (cohort 1) - born between 01.01.1981 and 31.12.1983 (Cohort 2) - born between 01.01.1971 and 31.12.1973 (cohort 3) - born between 01.01.2001 and 31.12.2003 (cohort 4) The persons were taken into account regardless of their nationality, i.e. both German and non-German persons are included in the population.
Probability: Multistage; Sampling Procedure Comment: The survey was targeted towards anchor respondents of the pairfam panel who • had already been personally interviewed as part of wave 12, or • had been issued a temporary dropout code as part of the main fieldwork processing of wave 12, or • had not been finally processed by an interviewer as part of wave 12. In total, the gross sample consisted of 9,640 persons. Details on sampling procedures and follow-up strategies of the pairfam main study are explained in the method reports (available in German language only) and in the pairfam Technical Paper No. 1 (see Dokumentation).
Time Dimension
  • Longitudinal: Panel
Collection Mode
  • Self-administered questionnaire: Web-based
  • Web-based interview: Each respondent of the gross sample was sent a personalized invitation letter and was asked to participate in a web survey which should last 10-15 minutes. The letter included a personalized link as well as a responding QR code to enable logging in to the survey.
Data and File Information
  • Number of Variables: 213
In order to correct for unequal sample probabilities in the cohorts (due to the DemoDiff subsample and the boost sample in wave 11, among others) and non-response, weighting variables are included in the dataset.
C - Data and documents are only released for academic research and teaching after the data depositor’s written authorization. For this purpose the Data Archive obtains a written permission with specification of the user and the analysis intention.
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
  • ZA5959 (Type: ZA-No.)
  • Kantar: Corona-Zusatzbefragung : Methodenbericht. München: Kantar GmbH, 2020
  • Walper, Sabine, Barbara Sawatzki, Philipp Alt, Julia Reim, Claudia Schmiedeberg, Carolin Thönnissen & Martin Wetzel (2020). The pairfam COVID-19 survey: Design and instruments. Release Version. LMU Munich: pairfam Technical Paper 15
  • Huinink, Johannes, Josef Brüderl, Bernhard Nauck, Sabine Walper, Laura Castiglioni & Michael Feldhaus: Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics (pairfam): Conceptual framework and design. In: Zeitschrift für Familienforschung 23, 2011, S. 77-101

Update Metadata: 2021-02-11 | Issue Number: 5 | Registration Date: 2020-12-17