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National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS)


The Population Research Institute (PRI) is currently evaluating the SODAPOP service. The ability to extract a data set containing a subset of variables will not be supported after September 15, 2016.

The data collections in SODAPOP will still be available from the PRI. If you should have concerns about this change to the SODAPOP service or need to access some of the data, contact the PRI's Computational and Spatial Analysis (CSA) core at

STIUPLATIONS FOR USE: Access Restricted to Penn State researchers and members of the Association of Population Centers (APC). The files prepared below were obtained from ICPSR. ICPSR does not allow redistribution to third party users beyond Penn State or the APC (permission to redistribute within the APC granted by ICPSR).

DESCRIPTION:  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. Respondents were drawn from a nationally representative random-digit-dial sample of noninstitutionalized, English-speaking adults, aged 25-74, selected from working telephone banks in the coterminous United States. Those queried participated in an initial telephone interview and responded to a mail questionnaire.

Download MIDUS Files

Part 1, Main Data, contains responses from the main survey of 4,242 respondents. 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, their sense of control over their lives, their interests, and their hopes for the future.

Part 2, Siblings Data, contains data from a survey of 951 respondents, each of whom was a sibling of a respondent in Part 1, the Main file. These siblings participated in the same assessments as the respondents.

Part 3, Twins Data, presents data from a separate national survey unrelated to the main MIDUS survey. From this separate national survey, a total of 1,996 twins agreed to participate. The Twins respondents were given the same assessments as the Main and Siblings samples. Additionally, the Twins sample was asked a series of questions about their birth, shared physical characteristics, childhood and adult relationships with their twin, whether they were dressed alike as children, and whether others experienced difficulty identifying them correctly.

Part 4, Main: Weights, for Respondents Completing Both the Telephone Survey and Mail Questionnaire, contains respondent weights for those who completed both the initial telephone survey and the mail questionnaire, while Part 5, Main: Weights for Respondents Completing at Least the Telephone Survey, contains respondent weights for those who completed at least the telephone survey. Information in Part 6, Siblings: ID Match, enables the user to link a respondent in the Siblings file with his/her sibling in the Main file by ID number. Background information on respondents includes age, sex, education, religion, marital status, employment status, age of children, household income, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, height, weight, insurance coverage, spouse's employment status and occupation, parents' occupation history and age of death, and respondents' childhood experiences.

ORIGINATING AGENCY / PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR(S): Orville G. Brim, Paul B. Baltes, Larry L. Bumpass, Paul D. Cleary, David L. Featherman, William R. Hazzard, Ronald C. Kessler, Margie E. Lachman, Hazel Rose Markus, Michael G. Marmot, Alice S. Rossi, Carol D. Ryff, and Richard A. Shweder

MIDUS Project Web Site