The German Family Panel (pairfam)

Resource Type
  • Nauck, Bernhard (Technische Universität Chemnitz)
  • Brüderl, Josef (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Huinink, Johannes (Universität Bremen)
  • Walper, Sabine (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Arránz Becker, Oliver (Technische Universität Chemnitz)
  • Boldin, Elena (Universität Mannheim)
  • Buhr, Petra (Universität Bremen)
  • Castiglioni, Laura (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Fiedrich, Stefan (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Fuß, Daniel (Technische Universität Chemnitz)
  • Gschwendtner, Christina (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Hajek, Kristin (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Huyer-May, Bernadette (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Keller, Sabine (Technische Universität Chemnitz)
  • Lois, Nadia (Technische Universität Chemnitz)
  • Müller, Bettina (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Salzburger, Veronika (Technische Universität Chemnitz)
  • Schmahl, Franziska (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Schmiedeberg, Claudia (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Schumann, Nina (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Schütze, Philipp (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Thönnissen, Carolin (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Wendt, Eva-Verena (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
  • Wilhelm, Barbara (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
Other Title
  • Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics (Alternative Title)
Publication Date
  • TNS Infratest, Munich (Data Collector)
  • TNS Infratest, München (Data Collector)
  • ZA:
    • Society, Culture
    • Family
    • Education, School Systems
    • Person, Personality, Role
  • 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 more than 12,000 persons of the three birth cohorts 1971-73, 1981-83, 1991-93 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 German Family Panel is a multi-subject study focusing on aspects of partnership and family dynamics. 1.) Partnership formation and development 2.) Transition to first and consecutive births 3.) Intergenerational relationships 4.) Parenting and child development In addition, the survey also touches on various issues from other life domains and demography. Most of the instruments are utilized either annually in each survey wave (core modules) or are rotated every two or every three years (extended modules). In the main survey, the anchor persons report - among other things - retrospectively on changes related to their partnerships, children, residences, and educational and occupational career since the last wave (Event History Calendar). The questionnaires for partners, parents, and children are similar to the main survey in terms of topics but differ in length and content. The thematically sorted module lists provide a summary of the wide spectrum of survey topics; the more detailed variable lists comprise all variables with names and labels plus notes on changes between the waves. These lists are available online: see Data & Documents for the entire study documentation and see the instruments website of the pairfam research data center. Topics: 1.) Partnership formation and development: Expectations concerning partnership (positive, negative); Partnership biography since age 14 (sex and age of partners, partnership, cohabitation and marriage episodes by month); Getting to know each other (current partner); Institutionalization of partnership (plans, ambivalence, stages); Sexuality (first times, sexual orientation, frequency of sexual intercourse, sexual competence and communication, satisfaction with sex life); Activities with partner (leisure); Cohabitation (dwelling, distance between places of residence); Division of household chores (several activities, fairness); Finances in partnership (bank accounts, living expenses); Quality of partnership (dyadic coping, NRI, MITA, feelings of competence, future orientation, readiness to make sacrifices, reciprocity orientation, problems in partnership, hostile attributions, areas of conflicts, conflict styles and behavior, tolerance of conflicts, satisfaction with relationship, subjective instability of partnership); Module for singles (satisfaction with situation as single, interest in partnership, desire for partnership, characteristics of the partner market, subjective chances, broad and in-depth exploration); Separation module (course of separation, problems in partnership, effects on children, emotional distress after separation, exposure with separation, custody and alimony arrangements). 2.) Transition to first and consecutive births: Expectations concerning life with children (value of children); Pregnancy (existence of pregnancy, tried to sire a child/get pregnant, infertility, procreation/measures inducing pregnancy, abortion/miscarriage, hypothetical social support in case of pregnancy); Contraception (use, methods, consistency of use); Social influences on family planning (by friends and parents); Fertility plans (ideal and realistic number of children, intention to become parent, timing of parenthood, agreement with partner, willingness to cut back for children, effects of being parent, parenthood decision making, reasons against children); Preconditions for parenthood (assessment of actual and target state); Societal context (assessment, influences of family policy). 3.) Intergenerational relationships: Expectations concerning the relationship to parents (value of parents); Familial norms; Family and partnership related values; Quality of parent-child-relationship (NRI); Dimensions of intergenerational relationships (frequency of contact, emotional closeness, travel-time distance); Given and received support (emotional, material, instrumental); Nursing (need for care parents, care provider); Activities parents with children (leisure); Leaving parents’ home (age). 4.) Parenting and child development: Child rearing goals; Parenting styles; Parenting role (parental self-efficacy, autonomy, anxious overprotection, social support, readiness to make sacrifices, hostile attributions); Co-parenting (problems, problem solving, appreciation/support); Perception of parental parenting style (negative communication, MITA); Assessment of own childhood; Child care (responsible persons, satisfaction with child care situation); Behavior of children (SDQ); Health of children (specific and in general); Newborn and infant module (delivery, checkups, breastfeeding, temperament, sleep at night, crying behavior, unspecific strain). Other life domains: Personality (“Big Five”); Well-being (loneliness, self-worth, depressiveness, etc.); Health (general status, handicap, sleep at night, body height and weight); Importance of life domains (occupation, family, etc.); Satisfaction (with life, school/job, leisure activities, friends, family, financial situation); Network integration (number of friends, network generator); Leisure (several activities); Religiosity (religious denomination, frequency of church visits). Demography: Sex; Age; Marital status; Country of birth and nationality; Number of siblings and relatives; Education (education career, educational attainment); Employment biography (employment episodes, occupation, occupational status); Employment situation (work schedule arrangement, temporary employment contract, multiple jobs, conditions at workplace, commuting, maternity/paternity leave, military/civilian service); Income and benefits (current gross and net income per month, net household income, drawing of social benefits, alimony payment, income on investments, economic deprivation); Residential biography since age 18 (first move out of parents‘ home, places of residence in federal state and country, first and second place of residence, moves, type of current household, ownership of dwelling, total living space, number of rooms, monthly expenditures for dwelling, frequency of overnight stays); Household grid (number of further persons in the household and their sex, age, kind of relationship); Information about current partner (date of birth, country of birth and nationality, education, occupation, job position, children from earlier relationships, place of residence); Information about children (number, sex, date of birth, status, cohabitation, contact, second parent, health status, child care); Information about biological parents and stepparents (date of birth, whether still alive and - if applicable - date of death, country of birth and nationality, highest level of education and vocational training, marital status, relationship status, cohabitation, old and new partnership).
Temporal Coverage
  • 2008-09 / 2009-05
    1st Wave
  • 2008-09 / 2009-05
  • 2009-10 / 2010-04
    2nd Wave
  • 2009-10 / 2010-04
  • 2010-10 / 2011-04
    3rd Wave
  • 2010-10 / 2011-04
  • 2011-10 / 2012-05
    4th Wave
  • 2011-10 / 2012-05
Geographic Coverage
  • Germany (DE)
  • Germany (DE)
Sampled Universe
Anchor Persons: All German-speaking persons (irrespective of nationality) living in private households in Germany born within one of the following time periods • 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)
The German Family Panel pairfam is a panel survey of anchor persons with an implemented multi-actor design. The anchor´s partner and, from the second wave onwards, also the anchor´s (step-)parents and children of the age of 8 to 15 living in the household are additionally included in the survey in order to get a comprehensive picture of respondents’ family life. Anchor Persons: The initial sample was drawn using a two-stage sampling procedure; the aim was to represent the three cohorts with equal shares of the total sample: • first stage: municipalities of the Federal Republic of Germany were sampled (with a sampling probability proportional to the size of the target population in each municipality, proportionally distributed between East and West Germany); • second stage: persons of the target population who had their main residence in the selected municipalities were sampled (systematic random sampling on the basis of local population registers). Anchor persons are interviewed annually, using a non-monotonic design (respondents who dropped out in the last wave are re-contacted in the subsequent wave). Partners: inclusion of the current partner of the anchor person in the survey if consent of the anchor person is given (irrespective of sex, cohabitation or relationship status); in case of separation between the waves, ex-partners are not contacted again. Parents: inclusion of up to three (step-)parents in the survey if they are living in Germany and if consent of the anchor person is given; biological parents have the highest priority, followed by the mother’s new partner and the father’s new partner (irrespective of cohabitation or relationship status of the parents); annually repeated interviews (even in case of changes concerning stepparents). Children: inclusion of the youngest child living in the anchor household aged between 8 and 15 in the second survey wave plus all other children entering this age interval from the third wave onwards if consent of the anchor person and possibly of the partner is given (biological or social children, including adoptive and foster children); annually repeated interviews until the age of 15, then inclusion in the main panel of anchor persons. Details on sampling procedures and follow-up strategies are explained in the method reports (available in German language only) and in the Technical Paper No. 1 (see Data and Documents).
Collection Mode
  • Anchor Persons: Face-to-face interview with standardized questionnaire (CAPI and CASI for sensitive topics); incentive of 10€ cash per realized interview Partner: Paper-and-pencil interview with standardized questionnaire (Drop-Off); incentive of 5€ lottery ticket per completed questionnaire Parenting: Paper-and-pencil interview with standardized questionnaire (Drop-Off), additional information provided by anchor persons and partners about their surveyed children Parents: Mail survey with standardized questionnaire; incentive of 5€ lottery ticket per completed questionnaire Children: Face-to-face interview with standardized questionnaire (CAPI); incentive of 5€ cash per realized interview
  • Anchor Persons: Face-to-face interview with standardized questionnaire (CAPI and CASI for sensitive topics); incentive of 10€ cash per realized interview Partner: Paper-and-pencil interview with standardized questionnaire (Drop-Off); incentive of 5€ lottery ticket per completed questionnaire Parenting: Paper-and-pencil interview with standardized questionnaire (Drop-Off), additional information provided by anchor persons and partners about their surveyed children Parents: Mail survey with standardized questionnaire; incentive of 5€ lottery ticket per completed questionnaire Children: Face-to-face interview with standardized questionnaire (CAPI); incentive of 5€ cash per realized interview
The DemoDiff survey, carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, utilizes a largely identical set of instruments and supplements the pairfam data with an additional sample of eastern German anchor persons of the two birth cohorts 1971 to 1973 and 1981 to 1983 plus their partners (oversample). The current data from the DemoDiff survey are included in the scientific use file of the German Family Panel pairfam. Analyses of the influence of context factors are facilitated by additional geographically referenced data and by the concatenation of pairfam micro-data with numerous local and regional indicators (“microm data”). Due to security considerations, these data are accessible on secure workstations in Bremen, Chemnitz, and Munich only. The user support office of the pairfam research data center provides information about the project and helpdesk services concerning the use of pairfam data (Email: The pairfam research data center holds international meetings, user conferences and data workshops on a regular basis. All events are announced in the pairfam newsletter and on the website. A complete list of all known publications related to the German Family Panel including students’ theses and working papers is available on the pairfam website.
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.
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Alternative Identifiers
  • ZA5678 (Type: ZA-No.)
  • Is new version of
    DOI: 10.4232/pairfam.5678.3.1.0
  • Is new version of
    DOI: 10.4232/pairfam.5678.3.0.0
  • Huinink, Johannes, Josef Brüderl, Bernhard Nauck, Sabine Walper, Laura Castiglioni und Michael Feldhaus: Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics (pairfam): Conceptual framework and design. In: Zeitschrift für Familienforschung 23, 2011, S. 77-101
  • Brüderl, Josef; Castiglioni, Laura; Schumann, Nina (Hrsg.): Partnerschaft, Fertilität und intergenerationale Beziehungen - Ergebnisse der ersten Welle des Beziehungs- und Familienpanels. Würzburg: Ergon Verlag 2011

Update Metadata: 2021-08-30 | Issue Number: 114 | Registration Date: 2013-06-10