Monitoring the Future: Restricted-Use Panel Data, United States, 1976-2014 (ICPSR 37072)

Version Date: May 11, 2018 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
John E. Schulenberg, University of Michigan. Survey Research Center; Richard Miech, University of Michigan. Survey Research Center; Lloyd Johnston, University of Michigan. Survey Research Center; Patrick M. O'Malley, University of Michigan. Survey Research Center; Jerald G. Bachman, University of Michigan. Survey Research Center; Megan E. Patrick, University of Michigan. Survey Research Center

Version V1 ()

  • V5 [2023-03-27]
  • V4 [2022-03-01] unpublished
  • V3 [2020-09-08] unpublished
  • V2 [2018-05-11] unpublished
  • V1 [2018-05-11] unpublished

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MTF Panel Data

The Monitoring the Future (MTF) project is a long-term epidemiologic and etiologic study of substance use among the nation's youth and adults. It is conducted at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, funded by a series of investigator-initiated research grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

From its inception in 1975, the project has collected data annually from nationally representative samples of 13,000-19,000 high school seniors, located in approximately 135 schools nationwide (i.e. cross-sectional data). Beginning in 1991, similar surveys of nationally representative samples of 8th and 10th graders have been conducted annually. In all, approximately 45,000 students annually respond to about 100 drug use and demographic questions, as well as to about 200 additional questions divided among multiple forms on other topics such as attitudes toward government, social institutions, race relations, changing gender roles, educational aspirations, occupational aims, and marital plans.

The MTF project also includes a longitudinal panel study component. Beginning with the class of 1976, biennial follow-up mail surveys have been conducted with representative subsamples of respondents from each senior year class, spanning modal ages 19 to 30. From each senior year cohort, a sample of about 2,450 students are selected for longitudinal follow-up. The sample is randomly split into two halves (approx. 1,225 each) to be followed every other year. One half-sample begins its first follow-up the next year at modal age 19, and the other half-sample begins its first follow-up in the second year at modal age 20. The follow-ups continue such that the modal ages are as follows: FU1=19/20, FU2=21/22, FU3=23/24, FU4=25/26, FU5=27/28, FU6=29/30. Respondents receive the same survey form for follow-up as they completed at base year.

More information about the MTF project can be accessed through the Monitoring the Future website - including the purpose, design, sampling procedures, and questionnaire administration; selected data tables and figures; a listing of publications and press releases; information about the research investigators; and links to related websites.

Schulenberg, John E., Miech, Richard, Johnston, Lloyd, O’Malley, Patrick M., Bachman, Jerald G., and Patrick, Megan E. Monitoring the Future: Restricted-Use Panel Data, United States, 1976-2014 . Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2018-05-11.

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United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA001411, DA016575)

Users are reminded that these data are to be used solely for statistical analysis and reporting of aggregated information, and not for the investigation of specific individuals or organizations.

Access to the data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement. Data are provided via ICPSR's Virtual Data Enclave (VDE). Apply for access to these data through the ICPSR VDE portal. Information and instructions are available within the data portal. For further assistance please reference the VDE Guide to learn about the application process, about using the VDE, and how to request disclosure review of VDE output.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

1976 -- 2014
1976 -- 2013 (Base-year in-school data collection, annually between January and May), 1977 -- 2014 (Longitudinal follow-up mail surveys, annually between April and October)

The nationally-representative base year cohort sample (i.e. each high school senior class) was selected using a multistage area probability sample design involving three selection stages: (1) geographic areas or primary sampling units (PSUs), (2) schools (or linked groups of schools) within PSUs, and (3) students within sampled schools. Participants were randomly divided into two groups for biennial follow-up. For longitudinal follow-up, each year, 2,450 respondents to the 12th grade survey were selected.

The panel sample was selected within school by form and gender, and each base-year school was required to have a minimum of two follow-up selections (individuals). The base year sampling weight was factored into the targeted sample size for each school/form/gender combination. An illicit drug user/nonuser stratification was created, based on responses to nine base year questions about 30-day drug use. (An individual was considered a "user" if they reported any use of LSD, hallucinogens other than LSD, cocaine, amphetamines, sedatives/barbiturates, tranquilizers, heroin, or narcotics other than heroin, or used marijuana 20 or more times in the past 30 days.) Illicit drug users were sampled at a 3-to-1 rate relative to non-users.

Please see the MTF Restricted Panel Data User's Guide for additional sampling details.

Longitudinal: Panel

Young adult follow-up of the U.S. high school seniors in MTF in the year of the baseline interview.


For information regarding response rates, users should refer to the summary information in Appendix A of the MTF Restricted Panel Data User's Guide.




A panel data weight, V106, is provided with the data file(s) and is recommended for use with all analyses.

Users should note, however, that this weight, V106, is NOT an attrition weight: this follow-up weight variable only accounts for the oversampling of drug users into the longitudinal sample by a ratio of 3:1 (and has values of either 1 or .3333). Please see the MTF Restricted Panel Data User's Guide for more information about V106 as well as information and suggestions for handling sample attrition.