Midlife in the United States (MIDUS Refresher 1): Biomarker Project, 2012-2016 (ICPSR 36901)

Version Date: Nov 18, 2019 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Maxine Weinstein, Georgetown University; Carol D. Ryff, University of Wisconsin-Madison.; Teresa E. Seeman, University of California-Los Angeles



Version V6 ()

  • V6 [2019-11-18]
  • V5 [2019-08-14] unpublished
  • V4 [2019-05-15] unpublished
  • V3 [2019-03-27] unpublished
  • V2 [2018-06-11] unpublished
  • V1 [2017-12-21] unpublished
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MR1P4, MIDUS Refresher 1 Biomarker

The MIDUS Refresher study Survey (2011-2014 ICPSR 36532) recruited a national probability sample of 3,577 adults, aged 25 to 74, designed to replenish the original MIDUS 1 baseline cohort and paralleling the five decadal age groups of the MIDUS 1 baseline survey (ICPSR 2760). The MIDUS Refresher survey employed the same comprehensive assessments as those assembled on the core longitudinal MIDUS sample, but with additional questions about impacts of the economic recession of 2008-09. The MIDUS Refresher Biomarker study (2012-2016) obtained data from 863 respondents (n=746 Main sample, n=117 African Americans from Milwaukee) who completed the MIDUS Refresher Survey.

The purpose of the Refresher Biomarker Project (Project 4) parallels that of the MIDUS 2 Biomarker project (ICPSR 29282), which collected comprehensive biological assessments on a subsample of MIDUS respondents, thus facilitating analyses that integrate behavioral and psychosocial factors with biological regulation/dysregulation, broadly defined. The aim was to use such data to explicate biopsychosocial pathways that contributed to diverse health outcomes. A further theme was to examine period effects on health (mental and physical) related to the economic recession by comparing the pre-recession MIDUS sample with the post-recession MIDUS Refresher sample. A further objective of the MIDUS Refresher sample was to strengthen cross-project analyses by increasing the sample sizes available for testing hypotheses regarding the interplay of key factors (e.g., socioeconomic status, gender, psychosocial factors, biological factors) in mid- and later-life health.

Biomarker data collection was carried out at hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the autonomic nervous system, the immune system, cardiovascular system, musculoskeletal system, antioxidants, and three General Clinical Research Centers (at UCLA, University of Wisconsin, and Georgetown University). The biomarkers reflect functioning of the metabolic processes. Our specimens (fasting blood draw, 12-hour urine, saliva) allowed for assessment of multiple indicators within these major systems. The protocol also included assessments by clinicians or trained staff, including vital signs, morphology, functional capacities including 3 dimensional gait analysis, bone densitometry, body composition, ankle brachial index, medication usage, and a physical exam. Project staff obtained indicators of heart-rate variability, beat to beat blood pressure, respiration, and salivary cortisol assessments during an experimental protocol that included both a cognitive and orthostatic challenge. Finally, to augment the self-reported data collected in Survey (Project 1), participants completed a medical history, self-administered questionnaire, and self-reported sleep assessments. For respondents at one site (UW-Madison), objective sleep assessments were also obtained with an Actiwatch(R) activity monitor.

Weinstein, Maxine, Ryff, Carol D., and Seeman, Teresa E. Midlife in the United States (MIDUS Refresher 1): Biomarker Project, 2012-2016. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2019-11-18. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36901.v6

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United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging (5P01AG020166)

None, except for respondents included in the Milwaukee sample

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

2012-10 -- 2016-08
2012-10 -- 2016-08
  1. These data can be linked to the primary MIDUS Refresher data (ICPSR 36532) using the variable MRID.
  2. The MIDUS-produced DDI codebook (PDF file) and the XML file (contained in a .zip package) were not changed in any way by ICPSR. These original files do not reflect any of the processing done by ICPSR.

  3. For more information on the MIDUS Refresher Project, please see the MIDUS web site.
  4. (April 2019) Incorrect Variable Label: The data file will be updated in a future public release, until then users of the BIS (BioImpedance Spectroscopy) data should be aware that the reference to 'Fat Free', in the variable label for RA4IMFFMP is incorrect. This variable is a measure of FAT Mass percentage thus the correct label is "BIS: Mean whole body percent fat mass(FM/total body mass". Users should change this label in the data file to avoid future misinterpretations of their findings.
  5. The title of this study was changed in September 2021 to reflect that it represents the first wave of the MIDUS Refresher project (MIDUS Refresher 1). The downloadable materials do not yet reflect this title update.


The Biomarker Project is one of 5 projects comprising the MIDUS Refresher "Integrative Pathways to Health and Illness". The overarching objective of MIDUS is to investigate linkages between sociodemographic, psychosocial, and biological variables to account for later life profiles of morbidity and mortality. The MIDUS Refresher allows for expansion of the Biomarker sample to facilitate analyses that pay attention simultaneously to age, gender, and socioeconomic variation in how psychosocial and biological variables are linked. In addition, the Refresher sample will permit assessment of the impact of the ongoing economic recession on the health of diverse-aged adults via comparison with the extant Biomarker data from the MIDUS 2 sample. It will also lay the foundation for parallel longitudinal studies of same-aged adults from different birth cohorts on whom unfolding health trajectories are studied as the product of interacting domains of influence (biological, psychological, social) in a changing historical context (economic recession).

The Refresher Biomarker Project (P4) supported this goal primarily through assessment of a variety of biological indicators of physiology and health according to the basic protocol implemented at MIDUS 2. The protocol also included assessments of additional aspects of psychosocial experience. Modifications to that basic protocol and psychosocial assessments are noted below as appropriate. Data was collected during a 24 hour stay at one of 3 Clinical Research Units (CRU).

All biomarker assessments, with the exception of sleep assessments, were completed during the overnight stay at the regional CRU. The protocol for the visit was standardized across the three sites so that assessments were completed as follows:

Day 1 (late afternoon or evening of the day the person arrived at the CRU):

  • Medication Chart
  • Medical History
  • Self-Administered Questionnaire (SAQ)
  • Pittsburgh Sleep Questionnaire (PSQ)
  • Physical Exam (Vitals)
  • 12 hour Urine Collection began

Day 2 (the morning of the day the person left the CRU):

  • 12 hour Urine Collection ended
  • Fasting Blood Draw
  • Psychophysiolgy Experimental Protocol
  • Physical Exam (Functional Assessments)

Additional information regarding study design can be found in the Biomarker Project Summary documentation.

All respondents who completed the MIDUS Refresher Survey (Phone Interview and SAQs) were eligible to participate in the Refresher Biomarker project.


Non-institutionalized English-speaking adults in the United States.


DS 1: The aggregate dataset is comprised of survey data: self-administered questionnaires, staff administered interviews), as well as physical exam, medication, functional, physiological and assay data. The file contains 3,187 variables for 863 cases from the MIDUS Refresher MainRDD and Milwaukee African American samples.

DS 2: The Medication dataset is comprised of data about medications taken by MIDUS 2 Biomarker cases. The file contains data about 7,174 medications. The file contains 116 variables for 5,118 cases.

The Refresher Biomarker sample is comprised of respondents who completed the Refresher Survey phone or CAPI (Computer-Assisted Personal) interview and SAQs (Self-Administered Questionnaires). The response rate for eligible respondents (N=2625) is 32.9% (n=863). We were unable to locate or contact some eligible respondents, the response rate adjusted for these respondents is 41.5% (863/2080).

  • Mood And Symptom Questionnaire (Masq)
  • Center For Epidemiological Studies Depression Inventory (Ces-D)
  • Perceived Stress Scale-10 Item Version (Pss)
  • Spielberger Anger Expression Inventory
  • Anger Expression - Adjustment
  • Spielberger Trait Anger Inventory
  • Spielberger Trait Anxiety Inventory
  • Social Anxiety Scale
  • Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (Ctq)
  • Positive Events Scale
  • Singelis Self-Construal Scale
  • Social Obligation Scale
  • Relational Interdependent Self Construal Scale
  • Sympathy Scale (Expanded)
  • Adjustment Scale
  • Support and Strain Given To Friends
  • Friendship Support
  • Support Given To Family Scale
  • Support Given To Spouse Scale
  • Self-Control Scale
  • Minimalist Well-Being (New)
  • Subjective Well-Being Scale
  • Ucla Loneliness Scale (New)
  • Subjective Well-Being: Japanese Comparison Scale
  • Pittsburgh Sleep Quality (Psq)
  • Symptoms And Conditions
  • Counts Of Health Events
  • Family Medical History
  • Metabolic Equivalent Of Task (Met)
  • Marital Status
  • Counts Of Intervening Events
  • Medication Use
  • Body Indices
  • The Edinburgh Handedness Inventory
  • Additional information regarding scales can be found in the Psychosocial Constructs and Composite Variables documentation.



    2019-11-18 This collection has been updated to include fully curated data files with standardized labels and ICPSR codebooks with question text.

    2019-08-14 This collection was updated to include a new README file to alert users to an error and provide information on how to fix it.

    2019-05-15 This collection was updated to include a new README file describing a necessary change to a variable label.

    2019-03-27 This collection was updated to include MIDUS-MIDJA Medication Data Documentation.

    2018-06-11 This collection was updated to include revised versions of the Musculoskeletal Health and Function Data Documentation, Blood, Urine, and Saliva Data Documentation, and Readme file documentation. Additionally, this update included a second dataset and an associated codebook.

    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:
    • Weinstein, Maxine, Carol D. Ryff, and Teresa E. Seeman. Midlife in the United States (MIDUS Refresher 1): Biomarker Project, 2012-2016. ICPSR36901-v6. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2019-11-18. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36901.v6

    2017-12-21 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.
    • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

    The data do not contain a weight variable.



    • 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.