National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging

National Study of Daily Experiences (NSDE), March 1996-April 1997 (ICPSR 3725)

Principal Investigator(s):


The National Study of Daily Experiences (NSDE) is one of the in-depth studies that are part of the MacAuthur Foundation National Survey of Midlife in the United States (MIDUS). The purpose of the NSDE is to examine the day-to-day lives, particularly the daily stressful experiences, of a subsample of MIDUS respondents. Although previous daily diary research has advanced understanding of daily stress processes, there are important limitations in these studies that are addressed in the NSDE. First, previous studies in this area have relied on small and often unrepresentative samples that limit the ability to generalize findings. For this reason, the NSDE uses a large national sample of adults in the United States. Second, previous studies of individual differences in exposure and reactivity to daily events have typically examined only one source of variability, such as personality, to the exclusion of others. The NSDE corrects this problem by utilizing the data collected in the larger MIDUS survey on a wide array of sociodemographic and psychosocial variables to study the determinants of exposure and reactivity to daily stress. Third, previous studies have failed to investigate the role of genetics in both exposure and reactivity to daily stressors. The NSDE has a subsample of identical and fraternal same-sex twin pairs in order to explore this issue. The twins were selected if twin pairs had high self-reported certainty of zyogosity, had completed the MIDUS interview and questionnaires, and had mailed in their cheek cell samples. A wide range of information was obtained using the daily telephone interview. Conducting interviews for an entire year provided information about seasonal variation in daily experiences. Respondents completed an average of 7.2 of the 8 interviews resulting in a total of 10,397 days of interviews. Data collection consisted of 40 separate "flights" of interviews with each flight representing the eight-day sequence of interviews from approximately 33 respondents. The entire interview was CATI programmed, which enabled researchers to incorporate skip patterns and open-ended probe questions as well as to keypunch data during the interview, allowing data cleaning throughout the data collection.

Series: Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS) Series

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.


Study Description


Almeida, David M. National Study of Daily Experiences (NSDE), March 1996-April 1997. ICPSR03725-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2007-12-13.

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging (AG16731, AG19239, AG210166)
  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Mental Health (MH53372)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   adults, health status, life satisfaction, lifestyles, mental health, psychological wellbeing, social indicators, stress

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1996-03--1997-03

Date of Collection:  

  • 1996-03--1997-03

Universe:   Respondents were drawn from a nationally representative random-digit-dial sample of noninstitutionalized, English-speaking adults, aged 25-74, selected from working telephone banks in the coterminous United States.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The sample for this data collection was drawn from the original NATIONAL SURVEY OF MIDLIFE DEVELOPMENT IN THE UNITED STATES (MIDUS), 1995-1996 (ICPSR 2760). The data in this collection can be linked to ICPSR 2760 using the variable CASEID.


Sample:   The sample is comprised of 1,031 random-digit dialed (RDD) respondents and 452 twins. The twin subsample includes approximately 220 same sex twin pairs (105 MZ and 105 DZ).

Mode of Data Collection:   computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI)

Data Source:

telephone interview

Response Rates:   Of the 1,843 MIDUS respondents that researchers attempted to contact, 1,483 agreed to participate (8 percent refused participation and 11 percent either moved or were difficult to contact), yielding a response rate of 81 percent.

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.
  • Standardized missing values.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:  

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