Longitudinal Study of Generations, California, 1971, 1985, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2005 (ICPSR 22100)

Version Date: Aug 21, 2019 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Merril Silverstein, Syracuse University; Vern L. Bengtson, University of Southern California, Los Angeles


Version V5 ()

  • V5 [2019-08-21]
  • V4 [2016-07-06] unpublished

The Longitudinal Study of Generations (LSOG), initiated in 1971, began as a survey of intergenerational relations among 300 three-generation California families with grandparents (then in their sixties), middle-aged parents (then in their early forties), and grandchildren (then aged 15 to 26). The study broadened in 1991 and now includes a fourth generation, the great-grandchildren of these same families.

The LSOG, with a fully elaborated generation-sequential design, allows comparisons of sets of aging parents and children at the same stage of life but during different historical periods. These comparisons make possible the investigation of the effects of social change on inter-generational solidarity or conflict across 35 years and four generations, as well as the effects of social change on the ability of families to buffer stressful life transitions (e.g., aging, divorce and remarriage, higher female labor force participation, changes in work and the economy, and possible weakening of family norms of obligation), and the effects of social change on the transmission of values, resources, and behaviors across generations.

The LSOG contains information on family structure, household composition, affectual solidarity and conflict, values, attitudes, behaviors, role importance, marital relationships, health and fitness, mental health and well-being, caregiving, leisure activities, and life events and concerns. Demographic variables include age, sex, income, employment status, marital status, socioeconomic history, education, religion, ethnicity, and military service.

Silverstein, Merril, and Bengtson, Vern L. Longitudinal Study of Generations, California, 1971, 1985, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2005. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2019-08-21. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR22100.v5

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United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging (2R01AG00799-21A2)


Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
1971 -- 2005
1971 -- 2005

The datasets for part 1 (Waves 1-7) and part 2 (Wave 8) of the Longitudinal Study of Generations can be merged utilizing the unique identifier variable ID.

The Stata syntax to merge the datasets is available in the study's zip package.

Families were drawn randomly from a subscriber list of 840,000 members of a California Health Maintenance Organization in Los Angeles.

Families were recruited by enlisting a grandfather over the age of 60 who was part of a three-generation family that was willing to participate.


Multi-generation families in California.

survey data

Affectual Solidarity Reliability, Consensual Solidarity (Socialization), Associational Solidarity, Functional Solidarity, Intergenerational Social Support, Normative Solidarity, Familism, Structural Solidarity, Intergenerational Feelings of Conflict, Management of Conflict Tactics, Rosenberg Self-Esteem, Depression (CES-D), Locus of Control, Bradburn Affect Balance, Eysenck Extraversion/Neuroticism, Anxiety (Hopkins Symptom Checklist), Activities of Daily Living (IADL/ADL), Religious Ideology, Political Conservatism, Gender Role Ideology, Individualism/Collectivism, Materialism/Humanism, Work Satisfaction, Gilford-Bengtson Marital Satisfaction


2019-08-21 The data were updated and resupplied by the data producer; ICPSR has updated the data and documentation to reflect these changes. Additionally, the data producer provided a Stata do file with syntax to merge the two datasets, which is available for download in the study zip folder. The study title was also updated.

2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Silverstein, Merril, and Vern L. Bengtson. Longitudinal Study of Generations, California, 1971, 1985, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2005. ICPSR22100-v5. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2019-08-21. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR22100.v5

2016-07-06 Merril Silverstein was added to the collection as a P.I.

2015-07-16 Wave 8 was added; including SPSS, SAS, and STATA datasets as well as an ICPSR Variable Description and Frequencies codebook. The codebook for part one was recompiled into a collection level codebook, including both parts one and two. A user guide for the collection has also been added.

2009-05-12 Setup files have been updated.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

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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).