This study is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging (NACDA), the aging program within ICPSR. NACDA is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Heath (NIH).

Work and Family Life Study [United States] (ICPSR 26641)

Principal Investigator(s):


Formerly titled Marital Instability Over the Life Course (MIOLC -- ICPSR 3812), the Work and Family Life Study (WFLS) is a follow-up to the MIOLC. The MIOLC examined the causes of marital instability throughout the life course, and contains 6 waves of data collected between 1980 and 2000, which were gathered from married respondents who were between the ages of 18 and 55. The Work and Family Life Study provides data for use in assessing: changes in marital quality between 1980 and 2000; the effects of family-of-origin characteristics and marital history on the physical and psychological health of respondents; and evaluating sample attrition, factors which lead to attrition, and attrition bias. The WFLS collected new cross-sectional information (Part 2 -- Public Use Cross Section, N = 2,189) on married people 55 years of age and younger, using the same sampling procedures and interview questions that were used in the 1980 wave of the MIOLC. The Work and Family Life Study's Public Use Cross Section is the latest addition to the data collections. This new Public Use Cross Section studies the effects of wives' participation in the labor force on marriage and marital instability. Also provided in this collection are the Public Use All Waves (Part 1, N = 2,034) and the Public Use Panel Wave 6 (Part 3, N = 1,031). The Public Use All Waves contains information from Waves I through VI, which were collected in 1980, 1983, 1987, 1992-1994, 1997, and 2000. Among the variables included in all six waves are age, sex, educational attainment, marital status and history, attitude toward divorce, number of children, religious affiliation, and income level. The Public Use Panel Wave 6 contains data on persons who only responded to wave 6 of the study. Unique to this data collection, the Public Use Comparison file (Part 4, N = 11,741) contains information on respondents who would have been between the ages of 18 and 55 in 1980, married, and living with their spouse. These data evaluate potential bias from sample attrition in the panel study. The Comparison Sample is a special purpose sample and does not generalize to a normally defined population of ever married persons.

Series: Marital Instability Over the Life Course/Work and Family Life Study Series

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.


WARNING: This study is over 150MB in size and may take several minutes to download on a typical internet connection.

DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Public Use All Waves - Download All Files (133.3 MB)
DS2:  Public Use Cross Section - Download All Files (31.1 MB)
DS3:  Public Use Panel Wave 6 - Download All Files (15.8 MB)
DS4:  Public Use Comparison - Download All Files (25.3 MB)

Study Description


Booth, Alan, David Johnson, Paul Amato, and Stacy Rogers. Work and Family Life Study [United States]. ICPSR26641-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-01-26.

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

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  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging (1-RO1-AGO4146)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   aging, alcohol consumption, 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, physical limitations, tobacco use, work attitudes

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1980
  • 1983
  • 1988
  • 1992--1994
  • 1997
  • 2000

Date of Collection:  

  • 1980
  • 1983
  • 1988
  • 1992
  • 1994
  • 1997
  • 2000

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.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The Work and Family Life Study is a follow-up to the The Marital Instability Over the Life Course Study (ICPSR 3812).

For confidentiality purposes variables containing area code, ZIP code, and prefix data were removed from the dataset(s). These variables are: AREA80, AREA83, AREA92, AREA97, AREACOD6, OAREACD, ZIPCODE, ZIP6, OZIPCODE, PREFIX, PREFIX2, and PREFIX6.


Sample:   National probability sample. The sample was selected using a random-digit dialing cluster technique. Data were weighted to adjust for underrepresentation in metropolitan areas.

Data Source:

telephone interviews and mailback questionnaires

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.


Original ICPSR Release:  



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