Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE), United States, 1999-2019 (ICPSR 38821)

Version Date: Dec 11, 2023 View help for published

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Sherry L. Willis, Pennsylvania State University, and University of Washington; Richard N. Jones, Hebrew Senior Life-Boston, and Brown University; Karlene K. Ball, University of Alabama; John Morris, Hebrew Senior Life-Boston; Michael Marsiske, Wayne State University, and University of Florida; Sharon L. Tennstedt, New England Research Institutes; Frederick W. Unverzagt, Indiana University; George W. Rebok, Johns Hopkins University. Bloomberg School of Public Health

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ACTIVE (Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly) was a multisite randomized controlled trial conducted at six field sites with New England Research Institutes (NERI) as the coordinating center. The field sites included the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Hebrew Senior Life (formerly Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for the Aged) in Boston, Indiana University, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Pennsylvania State University, and Wayne State University (Detroit). Data in this study are drawn from measures of cognitively demanding daily activities performed by participants who received a variety of cognitive interventions. Measures included both cognitive functioning (memory, inductive reasoning, speed processing, and general knowledge) and daily functioning (everyday problem solving, observations of daily living, complex reaction time, and general functional ability). Secondary to these measures, the study also includes data on health care and service utilization, driving habits, and mobility. Data were collected at the start of the study (baseline) as well as one, two, three, five, and ten years into the study.

This collection integrates data from two previous collections (ICPSR 4248 and ICPSR 36036) and fills in gaps that existed in these two collections. In addition, this collection features composite scores for constructs like memory, reasoning speed, Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), Social Determinants of Health (SDOH), as well as data from the National Death Index and state driving records.

Willis, Sherry L., Jones, Richard N., Ball, Karlene K., Morris, John, Marsiske, Michael, Tennstedt, Sharon L., … Rebok, George W. Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE), United States, 1999-2019. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2023-12-11.

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United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging (U01 AG14282)

Metropolitan Area

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

1999-01-01 -- 2019-12-31
1999-01-01 -- 2019-12-31
  1. This collection is drawn from twenty year of the ACTIVE study, below is a description of classes of data included:

    • Phase I data: Questionnaire data during Baseline through 10th Annual Post-Test.
    • National Death Index: Death, date of death, cause of death through 2019.
    • Training process data: Participant-level evaluations by the trainer.
    • Driving data: Crash record information, through 2017.
    • Social Determinants of Health: Factor scores for 5 domains of SDOH.
    • Occupation classification: Directory of Occupation Titles (DOT) codes for data, people, things.
    • Final disposition form: Including indicators for nursing home admission.

  2. This collection features composites and summary scores, including summaries for data collected in the ten-year follow up period.

    • Cognitive domains: memory composites, reasoning composites, speed of processing composites
    • Cognitive test summary scores: AVLT sum of t1-t5 scores, HVLT sum of t1-t3 scores, Rivermead sum scores, Letter series, Letter sets, Word series
    • Primary outcomes: everyday problem solving, everyday speed
    • Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) algorithmic classifications
    • Dementia algorithmic classifications
    • Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) composites
    • Driving composites
    • Social Determinates of Health composites
    • Timed Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) scores
    • Center for Epidemiologic Studies - Depression (CES-D) scores

  3. The study team developed longitudinal datasets that contain data through baseline to year ten for each instrument (i.e. Personality in Intellectual Aging Contexts (PIC), Memory Functioning Questionnaire (MFQ), CES-D, etc.). Time-invariant variables are included in a stand-alone file. In addition, there are separate files for NDI data, training process data, MVA driving data, occupation classification data, and disposition forms.

  4. For analysis, the variable ID (deidentified) can be used to link all records. Please refer to the ReadMe document for additional details.

The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of cognitive interventions in maintaining cognitive health and functional independence in older adults.

Eligible participants were randomly assigned to one of three intervention arms or the no-contact control group.

Eligibility and demographic data (age, gender, race, education, and marital status) were gathered in a telephone screening. Health history (self-report of diabetes, myocardial infarction, angina, heart failure, stroke, hypertension, high cholesterol, and current alcohol use), physical status, functional status, mental status and cognitive and function measures were gathered via in-person examinations in individual and small-group formats at baseline.

The sample consisted of 2,832 persons aged 65 to 94 recruited from 6 metropolitan areas in the United States. The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) recruited participants from residents of Jefferson County, Alabama, who were licensed to drive or who possessed nondriver identification cards issued through the Alabama Department of Public Safety, and they recruited from UAB eye clinics. The Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for the Aged (HRCA) in Boston, Massachusetts, recruited from congregate and senior housing sites, senior centers, and a registry of volunteers for aging research at the Harvard Cooperative Program on Aging. Indiana University recruited clients of the Community Centers of Indianapolis and through local churches and senior organizations. Johns Hopkins University recruited from senior centers, churches, senior housing, and senior organizations in the Baltimore, Maryland, metropolitan area and in Cumberland, Maryland. Pennsylvania State University recruited from the enrollment files of a state-funded pharmaceutical assistance program for low-income elders, called PACE. Wayne State University recruited from community organizations, churches, and senior housing in metropolitan Detroit, as well as from state of Michigan driver registration lists. The study design also included a no-contact control group.

Longitudinal: Panel

Americans age 65 years or older living in or near one of six study regions (Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Detroit, Indianapolis, or State College) who lived without formal care at the point of entry into the study but who were at risk of losing functional independence.


Variables in this study include information about memory, inductive reasoning, speed processing, everyday problem solving, observations of daily living, reaction time, health care and service utilization, driving habits, and mobility.



2023-12-11 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:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

The data are not weighted, and no weight variables are present in the collection.



  • 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).