National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP): Round 1, [United States], 2005-2006 (ICPSR 20541)

Version Date: Jan 30, 2023 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Linda J. Waite, University of Chicago. Department of Sociology; Edward O. Laumann, University of Chicago. Department of Sociology; Wendy S. Levinson, University of Toronto. Department of Medicine; Stacy Tessler Lindau, University of Chicago. School of Medicine. Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology/Medicine-Geriatrics; Colm A. O'Muircheartaigh, University of Chicago. Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies


Version V10 ()

  • V10 [2023-01-30]
  • V9 [2019-06-12] unpublished
  • V8 [2018-06-22] unpublished
  • V7 [2018-01-29] unpublished
  • V6 [2014-04-30] unpublished
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NSHAP Round 1

The National Social Life, Health and Aging Project (NSHAP) is the first population-based study of health and social factors on a national scale, aiming to understand the well-being of older, community-dwelling Americans by examining the interactions among physical health, illness, medication use, cognitive function, emotional health, sensory function, health behaviors, and social connectedness. It is designed to provide health providers, policy makers, and individuals with useful information and insights into these factors, particularly on social and intimate relationships. The National Opinion Research Center (NORC), along with Principal Investigators at the University of Chicago, conducted more than 3,000 interviews during 2005 and 2006 with a nationally representative sample of adults aged 57 to 85. Face-to-face interviews and biomeasure collection took place in respondents' homes. The following files constitute Round 1: Core Data, Marital/Cohabiting History Data, Social Networks Data, Medications Data, and Sexual Partners Data.

Included in the Core file (Datasets 1 and 2) are demographic characteristics, such as gender, age, education, race, and ethnicity. Other topics covered respondents' social networks, social and cultural activity, physical and mental health including cognition, well-being, illness, medications and alternative therapies, history of sexual and intimate partnerships and patient-physician communication, in addition to bereavement items. In addition data was collected from respondents on the following items and modules: social activity items, physical contact module, sexual interest module, get up and go assessment of physical function and a panel of biomeasures including, weight, waist circumference, height, blood pressure, smell, saliva collection, taste, and a self-administered vaginal swab for female respondents. The Core file also contains a count of the total number of drugs taken, and a variable for each observed therapeutic category, indicating whether the respondent reported taking one or more medications in that category. These variables are derived from the information in the medications file, and thus are guaranteed to be consistent with it. The Marital/Cohabiting History file (Dataset 3) contains one record for each marriage or cohabitation identified in Section 3A of the questionnaire. The Social Networks file (Datasets 4 and 5) contains one record for each person identified on the network roster. Respondents who refused to participate in the roster or who did not identify anyone are not represented in this file. The Medications file (Dataset 6) contains one record for each item listed in the medications log (including alternative medicines and nutritional products). Respondents who did not report taking any medications or who refused to participate in this module are not represented in this file. Lastly, the Sexual Partners file (Dataset 7) contains one record for each sexual partner identified in Section 3A of the questionnaire.

NACDA also maintains a Colectica portal with the NSHAP Core data across rounds 1-3, which allows users to interact with variables across rounds and create customized subsets. Registration is required.

Waite, Linda J., Laumann, Edward O., Levinson, Wendy S., Lindau, Stacy Tessler, and O’Muircheartaigh, Colm A. National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP): Round 1, [United States], 2005-2006. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2023-01-30.

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United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging (R01AG021487)

Public and restricted versions of the the Core and Social Networks data are included in this collection. Users interested in obtaining the restricted versions of these data from NACDA must request and complete the NSHAP Restricted Data Use Agreement form. Users can download this form from the download page associated with this dataset. Completed forms with original signature(s) should be emailed to

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

2005-07 -- 2006-03
2005 -- 2006
  1. This collection is being released in nine parts: Datasets 1 through 7 contain the ICPSR-processed files; Dataset 8 contains the original Public-Use Stata data files with extended and nonextended missing values provided by the P.I. in a zip file package; Dataset 9 contains the original Restricted-Use Stata data files provided by the P.I. in a zip file package.

  2. The Core Data (Datasets 1 and 2) and Social Networks Data (Datasets 4 and 5) are available as both public and restricted-use. Datasets 3 (Marital/Cohabiting History Data), 6 (Medications Data), and 7 (Sexual Partners Data) are only available as restricted-use.

  3. Please refer to the related data collections ICPSR 34921, National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP): Round 2 and Partner Data Collection and ICPSR 36873, National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP): Round 3 and COVID-19 Study, [United States], 2015-2016, 2020-2021 for further information regarding the NSHAP project.
  4. For further information about the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP), please see the NORC at the University of Chicago Web site.

  5. Users can subscribe to the NSHAP data mailing list by emailing

  6. The grant numbers have been updated as of September 2019; users citing the NSHAP data should ensure their citations are up to date.

  7. As of February 2021, the NSHAP Team has agreed upon a new standardized terminology to refer to the timepoints at which NSHAP data are collected. Authors of publications, proposals, and other materials using NSHAP data are asked to adopt this terminology moving forward. Please note that some ICPSR study materials reflect the previous terminology, updates are pending.

    The term "Round" will refer to each of NSHAP's major periodic data collection efforts: Round 1 [R1], conducted in 2005-06; Round 2 [R2], conducted in 2010-11; Round 3 [R3], conducted in 2015-16; Round 4 [R4], will be conducted in 2021-22.

    Refer to the NACDA site announcement about the change for more details.


Respondents were randomly assigned to one of 6 interview paths, with the path determining which modules were received during the main interview or in the leave-behind questionnaire. Please see the included questionnaire for an in-depth description of the individual paths. In cases where a particular question appeared in the interview for some and in the leave-behind for others, they have been combined into a single variable to facilitate analysis. For more information on study design, users should refer to the P.I. Documentation in the ICPSR Codebook, as well as visit the NORC at the University of Chicago Web site.

A complex, multistage area probability sample was used of community residing adults born between 1920 and 1947, which included an oversampling of African-Americans and Hispanics. The NSHAP sample is built on the foundation of the national household screening carried out by the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) in 2004. Through a collaborative agreement, HRS identified households for the NSHAP eligible population. A sample of 4,400 people was selected from the screened households. NSHAP made one selection per household. Ninety-two percent of the persons selected for the NSHAP interview were eligible. Researchers wishing to compute design-based variance estimates may use the variables STRATUM and CLUSTER. These variables were constructed from the original sampling units for the purpose of variance estimation; the former may be treated as (pseudo) strata and the latter as (pseudo) Primary Sampling Units (PSUs). For more information on sampling, users should refer to the P.I. Documentation in the ICPSR Codebook, as well as visit the NORC at the University of Chicago Web site.

Longitudinal: Panel

Community dwelling individuals ages 57-85 in the United States.


The weighted sample response rate was 75.5 percent for in-home interviews, including a brief self-administered questionnaire, in-home collection of a broad panel of biomeasures, as well as a leave-behind questionnaire. The response rate for the leave-behind questionnaire was 84 percent.



2023-01-30 The data and documentation were updated. Data file names and numbers were also updated.

2019-06-12 The collection was updated to include a minor revision to the restricted and public versions of the Dataset 1, Core Data. Additional documentation (two crosswalks) has been made available to help users track variables across the multiple waves.

2018-06-22 Public-use versions of the Core and Social Networks files have been added, and the public-use codebook has been updated to reflect these changes. In addition, the titles for all files have been updated to reflect the new study title.

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:
  • Waite, Linda J., Edward O. Laumann, Wendy S. Levinson, Stacy Tessler Lindau, and Colm A. O'Muircheartaigh. National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP): Round 1, [United States], 2005-2006. ICPSR20541-v10. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2023-01-30.

2018-01-29 Variables were added and edited by the data producer; ICPSR has updated the data and documentation to reflect these changes.

2014-04-30 The data and documentation were updated.

2010-07-28 The data and documentation were updated.

2010-05-17 The Restricted Data Use Agreement has been updated.

2008-12-08 Additional documentation has been provided.

2008-07-01 The data producer has supplied additional data for the Core and Medications files. A new Sexual Partners data file has been added. Two new technical reports -- Salivary Assays and Vaginal Swabs, which contain information from salivary specimens and vaginal swabs are now available.

2007-09-19 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:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

The data are not weighted, but contain two weight variables within the Dataset 1 Core data file, which users may wish to apply during analysis. Respondent-level weights representing the inverse probability of selection are contained in the variable WEIGHT_SEL. A second set of weights incorporating a non-response adjustment based on age and urbanicity is contained in the variable WEIGHT_ADJ. Both sets of weights are scaled to sum to the final sample size (3,005). For additional information on weights, please refer to the NORC at the University of Chicago Web site.

As noted above, in each round there is a variable called WEIGHT_ADJ which is non-missing for all respondents in that round, and which adjusts for differing probabilities of selection as well as differential non-response. These weight variables should be used for all cross-sectional analyses. Please note that the WEIGHT_ADJ variable differs across rounds (since the selection probabilities and non-response vary across rounds).

With respect to longitudinal analyses, NSHAP does not yet have a true panel weight (currently in progress). The Round 2 weight variable (WEIGHT_ADJ) should be used for longitudinal analyses until the panel weight is created. The Round 2 weight is non-missing for all but 38 respondents with data for multiple (i.e., at least two) rounds. Thus, this weight is adequate for longitudinal analyses using the subset of respondents with data from Round 2 and/or at least two rounds (this includes many typical longitudinal analyses). It is not advised to use this weight variable for those cases where someone wishes to include those respondents with data from only one round, except for those with data only from Round 2).



  • 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.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.

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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).