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National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS 1), 1995-1996


The National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS) is a collaborative, interdisciplinary investigation of patterns, predictors, and consequences of midlife development in the areas of physical health, psychological well-being, and social responsibility. Data were collected in 1995-1996 from a national sample of individuals 7,108 individuals aged 25-75 that included a national sample of twins and also siblings of the main sample participants. Respondents were asked to provide extensive information on their physical and mental health throughout their adult lives, and to assess the ways in which their lifestyles, including relationships and work-related demands, contributed to the conditions experienced. Those queried were asked to describe their histories of physical ailments, including heart-related conditions and cancer, as well as the treatment and/or lifestyle changes they went through as a result. A series of questions addressed alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use, and focused on history of use, regularity of use, attempts to quit, and how the use of those substances affected respondents' physical and mental well-being. Additional questions addressed respondents' sense of control over their health, their awareness of changes in their medical conditions, commitment to regular exercise and a healthy diet, experience with menopause, the decision-making process used to deal with health concerns, experiences with nontraditional remedies or therapies, and history of attending support groups. Respondents were asked to compare their overall well-being with that of their peers and to describe social, physical, and emotional characteristics typical of adults in their 20s, 40s, and 60s. Information on the work histories of respondents and their significant others was also elicited, with items covering the nature of their occupations, work-related physical and emotional demands, and how their personal health had correlated to their jobs. An additional series of questions focusing on childhood queried respondents regarding the presence/absence of their parents, religion, rules/punishments, love/affection, physical/verbal abuse, and the quality of their relationships with their parents and siblings. Respondents were also asked to consider their personal feelings of accomplishment, desire to learn, sense of control over their lives, interests, and hopes for the future.

MIDUS 1 Documentation

©2011 University of Wisconsin - Madison, Institute on Aging