Resource Type
Dataset : Survey and aggregate data
  • Diewald, Martin (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Riemann, Rainer (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Spinath, Frank M. (Universität des Saarlandes)
  • Gottschling, Juliana (Universität des Saarlandes)
  • Hahn, Elisabeth (Universität des Saarlandes)
  • Kornadt, Anna E. (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Kottwitz, Anita (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Mönkediek, Bastian (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Schulz, Wiebke (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Schunck, Reinhard (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Baier, Tina (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Bartling, Annika (Universität des Saarlandes)
  • Baum, Myriam A. (Universität des Saarlandes)
  • Eichhorn, Harald (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Eifler, Eike F. (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Hildebrandt, Jannis (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Hufer, Anke (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Kaempfert, Merit (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Klatzka, Christoph H. (Universität des Saarlandes)
  • Krell, Kristina (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Lang, Volker (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Lenau, Franziska (Universität des Saarlandes)
  • Nikstat, Amelie (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Paulus, Lena (Universität des Saarlandes)
  • Peters, Anna-Lena (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Ruks, Mirko (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Starr, Alexandra (Universität Bielefeld)
  • Weigel, Lena (Universität Bielefeld)
Publication Date
  • TNS Infratest / Kantar TNS (first Face-to-Face household survey, parts of the first telephone survey) (Data Collector)
  • infas Institut für angewandte Sozialwissenschaft (parts of the first telephone survey and subsequent data collections) (Data Collector)
  • GESIS (Distributor)
  • GESIS (Hosting Institution)
  • ZA:
    • Political Attitudes and Behavior
    • Occupation, Profession
    • Society, Culture
    • Community, Living Environment
    • Family
    • Education, School Systems
    • Person, Personality, Role
  • CESSDA Topic Classification:
    • Labour and employment
    • Post-compulsory education
    • Compulsory and pre-school education
    • Social conditions and indicators
    • Drug abuse, alcohol and smoking
    • Specific diseases and medical conditions
    • Mass political behaviour, attitudes/opinion
    • Psychology
    • Social stratification and groupings
    • Family life and marriage
    • Equality and inequality
    • Housing
Free Keywords
Schema: TheSoz
twin studies; family; parent-child relationship; partner relationship; social background; job history; course of training; school education; biography; personality traits; deviant behavior; health status; social relations
  • Abstract

    TwinLife is a 12-year representative behavior genetic study investigating the emergence and development of social inequalities over the life course. For a detailed documentation of the study please visit The long-term project began in 2014 and surveys more than 4,000 pairs of twins and their families in different stages of life on a yearly basis. All of the subjects reside in Germany. Not only social, but also genetic mechanisms as well as covariations and interactions between these two factors can be examined with the help of identical and fraternal same-sex twins. In order to document the individual development of different aspects it is important to examine the families extensively over the course of several years. Six important contextual domains are focused on: 1. Education and academic performance / skill development, 2. career and labor market attainment, 3. integration and participation in social, cultural and political life, 4. quality of life and perceived capabilities, 5. physical and psychological health and 6. behavioral problems and deviant behavior. In the following, the TwinLife Data are described in more detail by the life domains outlined above: 1. Skill formation and education 1.1 Educational success: - School report; if not available: supplementary questions - Current school marks or rather marks of highest graduation - School climate/student-teacher-interaction - Pressure and stress at school 1.2 Intelligence - Subtests Matrices, Series, and Classification - Subtests Matrices, Series, Reasoning, Classification 1.3 Cognitive development - General information derived from ´U-Heft´; if not available: supplementary questions - Interviewer rating on task orientation and oral skills following intelligence test - Tutoring and homework help/special educational treatment/attendance of special school - Competence rating of social skills, oral skills, concentration ability, communications skills, mathematic ability, general knowledge 1.4 Media use - Frequency and duration of media use (e.g., Internet, Laptop, TV, games console etc.) 1.5 Academic self-concept - Verbal and spatial skills, spatial and general - Verbal, mathematic, and general academic ability - Perceived competence 1.6 Intrinsic motivation, learning motivation, achievement motivation - Educational values of German, maths, and school in general - Learning and achievement motivation in German, maths, and school in general - Learning goals 1.7 Self-efficacy - General self-efficacy 1.8 Self-esteem - General self-esteem 1.9 Self-regulation - Consistency of interest, self-control - Gummy bear test 1.10 Personality - Neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness 2. Career and labor market attainment 2.1 Employment status - Current employment status/changes regarding employment 2.2 Education - History of education - Education and qualification - Educational and career aspirations 2.3 Information on current job - Perceived job security and satisfaction - Wages/income/welfare dependency - job-related burden (i.e. shiftwork) 2.4 Economic preferences - Risk aversion 2.5 Job autonomy 3. Integration and participation in social, cultural, and political life 3.1 Migration background and citizenship - Current status of citizenship and changes of citizenship - Migration 3.2 Discrimination - Experiences with discrimination 3.3 Social participation - Frequency of attendance in sports clubs, theatre, music groups or volunteer organizations 3.4 Social networks - Social capital of individuals, e.g., close friends, frequency of social contacts - Loneliness 3.5 Political participation - Interest in politics, political preferences, voting behavior 3.6 Religion - Religious affiliation, church attendance, religiosity/spirituality 3.7 Cultural capital - cultural participation, reading, clasical music - Availability of cultural property - Music lessons 4. Subjective perceptions of quality of life 4.1 Life satisfaction - Global life satisfaction - Domain satisfaction (health, work life, family life, leisure time, school, romantic relationship, friendships, income) - Satisfaction with sibling relationship - Optimism 4.2 Burden and stress - frequency of arguments with partner or parents - Stress regulation and coping - interfamiliar and extrafamiliar: subjective evaluation 4.3 Life Goals: importance and progress 4.4 Sensory-processing sensitivity 4.5 Bullying - in the childhood and adolescence 5. Physical and psychological health 5.1 Subjective health 5.2 Objective health and diagnosis - Measures of height and weight child´s medical records - Depression - Pregnancy - Puberty 5.3 Health-related behavior - alcohol consumption, smoking, medication, medical checkups - sexual behavior 6. Deviant behavior and behavioral problems 6.1 Internalizing - Emotional symptoms, problems with peers, social difficulties 6.2 Externalizing - Hyperactivity, attention problems, behavioral difficulties 6.3 Deviant and delinquent behavior - Occurrence and frequency of problematic behavior (e.g., fare evasion, skip school, drug use, thieving, property damage, physical assault) - Supplementary questions on e.g., impulse control and rebellious behavior - Short version of deviant/delinquent behavior measure 7. Demographics 7.1 Information on household - Household questionnaire (persons in the household, household grid, type of dwelling, income), information on assets 8. Environment 8.1 Activities with children - Occurrence and frequency of e.g., singing and making music together; story time; doing sports; cultural activities 8.2 Nursery - Detailed information on nursery and daycare institutions 8.3 Grand-parents - Relationship: contact frequency, quality of relationship 8.4 Parenting style - Monitoring, warmth, rules, negative communication, control (child and parent report on parental behavior) 8.5 Quality of home environment - Characteristics of a chaotic, disorganized, and hurried home - Interviewer ratings on the home environment (household) 8.6 Involvement - Autonomy, structure, control, emotional support 8.7 Sibling relationship - Warmth, conflict, rivalry of sibling relationship - Affection, hostility, rivalry of sibling relationship 8.8 Family stresses - Care burden on household level 8.9 Intentional level to achieve certain life events 8.10 Stays abroad 8.11 Information on twins´ children 9. Zygosity and twin specific items 9.1 Zygosity - Ratings of physical twin similarity in childhood (e.g., eye color, hair structure, time of getting first teeth) 9.2 Twin specific questions - E.g., same or different clothing, confusion of the twins, undertakings with twins Additionally coded were: Sub-sample (generated); Family ID; Person ID; Original household number wave 1 (F2F 1); Household number wave-specific (F2F 1, CATI 1, F2F2); Twin birth cohort; Salience (gnerated); Sample population; Person type (F2F 1, CATI 1, F2F2); Flag variable: Change of participating sibling in family (generated); zygosity questionnaire result; (gen.); saliva test result (gen.); final zygosity: zygosity questionnaire result corrected with DNA test result (gen); zygosity discriminant function value (gen. ); assessment: egginess of twins; assessment of twin 1 and 2: egginess of twins (gen.); zygosity questionnaire recollected (gen.); interview status at family level: at least family questionnaire completed (gen. ) F2F 1, CATI, F2F 2; household level interview status: at least 1 household member (gen.) (F2F 1, CATI, F2F 2); person level interview status (gen. ) (F2F 1, CATI, F2F 2); F2F-CATI Switch (family level) (F2F 2); F2F-CATI Switch (person level) (F2F 2); EGP (Erikson-Goldthorpe-Portocarero class scheme); ESeC (European Socio-economic Classification); ISED 1997 (International Standard Classification of Education) ; CASMIN education classification.
Temporal Coverage
  • 2014-10-01 / 2015-05-31
  • 2015-10-01 / 2016-04-30
  • 2016-10-01 / 2017-04-30
  • 2017-10-01 / 2018-06-30
Geographic Coverage
  • Germany (DE)
Sampled Universe
Twins and their families (Extended Twin Family Design, ETFD): Monozygotic and dizygotic same-sex twin pairs born in the following years: 1.) 1990 - 1993, 2.) 1997/1998, 3.) 2003/2004 and 4.) 2009/2010 (4 birth cohorts in two subsamples) + at least one biological parent (+ if possible the other biological parent, step-parent(-s), one sibling and the twins´ partners)
Probability: Multistage; Sampling Procedure Comment: Probability Sample: Multistage Sample
Time Dimension
  • Longitudinal: Panel
Collection Mode
  • Face-to-face interview: CAPI/CAMI
  • Telephone interview: CATI
  • Self-administered questionnaire: Paper
  • Self-administered questionnaire: Web-based
  • Self-administered questionnaire: Computer-assisted (CASI)
  • Recording
  • Educational measurements and tests
  • F2F1: Household interviews with the family via three different interview modes (Face-to-face interview: CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interview), Self-administered questionnaire: CASI (Computer Assisted Self-Interview), and Self-administered questionnaire: Paper plus cognitive tests, scans/photos of certificates; interviews with family members living outside the interviewed households by two modes (Self-administered questionnaire: CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interview), Self-administered questionnaire: Paper. CATI1: individual and household interviews by phone. F2F 2: Household interviews with the family via three different interview modes (Face-to-face interview: CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interview), Self-administered questionnaire: CASI (Computer Assisted Self-Interview), and Self-administered questionnaire: Paper plus gummy bear tests, scans/photos of certificates.
The data delivery v4-1-0 consists of 11 data files in SPSS and Stata format: • Master data (ZA6701_master_v$): Includes information on the gross sample, such as consistency checked variables that are stable over time (sex, year of birth, relation to the twins, zygosity, migration background) and wave-specific variables (person type, response status) about all individuals included in TwinLife in each wave. • Survey data in person format with filter error adjustment (ZA6701_person_wid$_v$): There is one data set for each data collection (F2F 1, CATI 1, F2F 2). The data collection identifier is the variable wid. Each surveyed person has one data row (pid). The data were filter-cleaned, i.e. data were deleted if the question was not intended for a person according to the filter instructions. • Survey data in person format without filter error adjustment (ZA6701_person_unadj_wid$_v$.dta): There is one data file for each F2F data collection including all variables that were at least partially collected in PAPI mode (self-administered) without filter error adjustment. It is up to the users to decide how to handle the information provided by the respondents. • Survey data in family format (ZA6701_family_wide_wid$_v$.dta): There is one data set for each data collection (F2F 1, CATI 1, F2F 2). Each family has one data row with information of each participating person in the family being stored in separate variables/columns). Person format and family format data sets contain the same data using different structures. • Twin zygosity assessment (ZA6701_zygosity_v$): A data file with the information of the twin zygosity assessment in F2F 1. • Survey mode (ZA6701_mode_wid1_v4-1-0.dta): Contains information on survey mode for each variable in F2F 1. All data is provided with English and German variable descriptions. In Stata, these languages are included in one data set while in SPSS, these are separate data files. Variables and instruments are documented at Detailed information on the study and special features can be found at For questions regarding the content of the data, please contact data(at) Charges for downloading this data will be paid by the TwinLife project, so the use of the data is free of charge!
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
  • ZA6701 (Type: ZA-No.)
  • 1 (Type: VerbundFDB)
  • Is new version of
    DOI: 10.4232/1.13539
  • Is new version of
    DOI: 10.4232/1.13208
  • Is new version of
    DOI: 10.4232/1.13072
  • Is new version of
    DOI: 10.4232/1.12888
  • Is new version of
    DOI: 10.4232/1.12665
  • siehe außerdem:
  • Mönkediek, B., Lang, V., Weigel, L., Baum, M. A., Eifler, E. F., Hahn, E., Hufer, A., Klatzka, C.H., Kottwitz, A., Krell, K., Nikstat, A., Diewald, M., Riemann, R. & Spinath, F.M. (2019). The German Twin Family Panel (TwinLife). Twin Research and Human Genetics, 1-8.
  • Lang, V., Weigel, L., Mönkediek, B., Baum, M. A., Eichhorn, H., Eifler, E. F., Hahn, E., Hufer, A., Klatzka, C.H., Kottwitz, A., Krell, K., Nikstat, A., Diewald, M., Riemann, R. & Spinath, F. M. (2019). An Introduction to the German Twin Family Panel (TwinLife). Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik (published online ahead of print).
  • Hahn, E., Gottschling, J., Bleidorn, W., Kandler, C., Spengler, M., Kornadt, A. E., Schulz, W., Schunck, R., Baier, T., Krell, K., Lang, V., Lenau, F., Peters, A.-L., Diewald, M., Riemann, R. & Spinath, F. M. (2016). What Drives the Development of Social Inequality Over the Life Course? The German TwinLife Study. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 19(6), 659-672.

Update Metadata: 2021-04-07 | Issue Number: 4 | Registration Date: 2021-01-12