Changing Lives of Older Couples (CLOC): A Study of Spousal Bereavement in the Detroit Area, 1987-1993 (ICPSR 3370)

Published: Jan 18, 2006

Principal Investigator(s):
Randolph M. Nesse, University of Michigan; Camille Wortman, State University of New York-Stony Brook; James S. House, University of Michigan; Ron Kessler, Harvard University; James Lepkowski, University of Michigan

Version V1

Changing Lives of Older Couples (CLOC) is a large multi-wave prospective study of spousal bereavement. Face-to-face baseline interviews with married older adults in the Detroit, Michigan standardized metropolitan statistical area (SMSA) were conducted between June 1987 and April 1988, and follow-up interviews were conducted at six months (Wave 1), 18 months (Wave 2), and 48 months (Wave 3) after a spouse's death. Each widowed person was assigned a same-age, same-sex, same-race matched control from the baseline sample. Controls were interviewed again at each of the three follow-ups as well. Spousal loss was monitored using state-provided monthly death records and through daily obituaries from local area newspapers. The National Death Index (NDI) and direct ascertainment of death certificates were used to confirm all deaths. The primary strength of the CLOC study is its ability to measure spousal bereavement quantitatively. For this purpose a global grief scale and six grief subscales, unique to the CLOC study, were prepared. Depression was measured for all respondents with conceptualizations of depression at each wave, as well as major depressive episodes according to DSM-III-R criteria. Other survey questions focused on the social, psychological, and physical functioning of older adults (e.g., demographic, financial, housing, life events, social support, work and activities, marriage and family, religion, health and well-being). For a portion of the respondents (n = 432) in what was referred to as the MacBat study, various biomedical indicators (motor and cognitive, physiological, endocrinological and biochemical) were measured as well. The CLOC study has been subset into four primary datasets. The core, or Complete, dataset (Part 1) contains all available variables from all four waves of the study (Baseline, W1, W2, W3) for the entire sample of 1,532 persons (excluding clones, the 13 individuals who initially participated in a follow-up interview as control subjects, but who subsequently experienced spousal loss, and then entered the study as bereaved subjects). The Baseline Only dataset (Part 2) contains all variables collected at the baseline interview (V1-V957) for the entire sample of 1,532 persons (excluding clones). It also contains the baseline physiological variables (V20001-V20991) from the subsample of 432 persons who also participated in the baseline MacBat portion of the study. The Widowed-Controls Only datasets (Parts 3 and 4) contain all available data from anyone who participated as either a widowed person or a control subject in at least one of the three CLOC follow-up surveys (W1, W2, W3). This dataset is available with or without clones (n = 558 subjects including clones, and n= 545 excluding clones). The Couples Only dataset (Part 5) contains data collected from both the husband and the wife of 423 couples (n = 846) and includes all available data from all four waves of data collection (baseline, W1, W2, W3). Each record contains data for the wife (the "V" variables) and data for the husband (the "S" variables). A Clones Only dataset (Part 6) is also included for the advanced user and contains data for the 13 individuals identified as clones. A case-control matched design is recommended for analysis of the Clones Only data.

Nesse, Randolph M., Wortman, Camille, House, James S., Kessler, Ron, and Lepkowski, James. Changing Lives of Older Couples (CLOC):  A Study of Spousal Bereavement in the Detroit Area, 1987-1993. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-01-18.

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United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging (P.I., AG15948-01, AG610757-01, and AG05561-01)

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

1987 -- 1993

1987 -- 1993

The availability of these data is made possible by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (Randolph M. Nesse, Principal Investigator, AG15948-01). The original data collection for the CLOC study was supported by NIA grants (Camille B. Wortman, Principal Investigator, AG610757-01, and James S. House, Principal Investigator, AG05561-01).

Users are encouraged to check the CLOC Web site at for additional information.

Two-stage area probability sample of 1,532 married men and women. Women were oversampled in an effort to maximize the number of bereaved subjects.

Noninstitutionalized, English-speaking married couples capable of participating in a two-hour face-to-face interview, in which the husband was at least age 65, from the Detroit, Michigan, standardized metropolitan statistical area (SMSA).

personal interviews

clinical data

survey data



2006-01-18 File QU3370.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.


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  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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