Who were the original investigators?
Dr. Camille Wortman (now of SUNY-Stony Brook) was the principal investigator, and Dr. Ronald Kessler (now at Harvard University) was the co-investigator on the original National Institute on Aging (NIA) grant that was funded in 1985. This project was conducted as part of a program of research on stress in later life. The initial plan was to monitor members of the American Changing Lives (ACL) sample for mortality, but this was not feasible. Hence, the Changing Lives of Older Couples (CLOC) project was initiated. Since then, other co-investigators have included Dr. James House, who was the overall program principal investigator, and James Lepkowski.
When were the data collected?
The initial baseline data were collected between 1987-88. Subsequent waves of data were collected over the next five years, until 1994.
Is the CLOC study just about bereavement?
Although the primary objective of the CLOC project is to study prospectively the course and predictors bereavement, many related research questions can be investigated with the CLOC data. The CLOC includes rich data on personality, affective experience, social integration, interpersonal relationships, mental health, cognitive functioning, and physical health.
How should I cite the support that makes the CLOC possible?
The CLOC data analysis and data dissemination project was made possible by a grant from the National Institute on Aging, R01-AG15948-01A1 (Randolph M. Nesse, PI). The original data collection was made possible by a grant from the National Institute on Aging, R01-AG610757 (Camille Wortman, PI).
What is the design of the CLOC study?
The CLOC study is a prospective study of a two-stage area probability sample of 1,532 married individuals from the Detroit Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area. This sample includes 423 couples in which both members served as respondents (i.e., N=846 respondents). Baseline data were obtained using face-to-face interviews, conducted from June 1987 through April 1988. Spousal loss was monitored by reading daily obituaries in three Detroit-area newspapers and by using monthly death record tapes provided by the State of Michigan. Deaths were confirmed using the National Death Index. Of the 319 respondents who lost a spouse during the study, 86% (n=276) participated in at least one of three follow-up interviews, which were conducted 6 months (Wave 1), 18 months (Wave 2), and 48 months (Wave 3) after the death. Controls from the original sample of 1,545 were selected to match the widowed persons along the dimensions of age, race, and sex. The matched controls were re-interviewed at roughly the same time as the corresponding widowed person.
When were Wave 1 conducted?
Wave 1 interviews took place 5-8 months after the date of spousal death. However, this follow-up interview may have occurred years after the original baseline interview, given that the deaths occurred over a very broad time period. The "GAP" variable (see below) indicates the length of time between the baseline and Wave 1 interviews. Researchers should be sure to include this measure as a control in their multivariate analyses; the baseline indicators are most temporally close from wave 1 indicators for persons whose spouses died relatively soon after the baseline interview.
How were sample members selected?
sample was drawn from three counties in metropolitan Detroit using a
two-stage area probability sampling method: To be eligible for the study,
respondents had to be English-speaking members of a married couple in
which the husband was aged 65 or older. This age stipulation was intended
to increase the base rate of widowhood, as older persons are more likely
to experience spousal loss in the imminent future. Eligibility requirements
also included the criteria that participants be non-institutionalized
and capable of participating in a 2-hour long interview.
Approximately 65% of those contacted at baseline for an interview participated, which is consistent with the response rate from other Detroit studies. This response rate yielded 1,532 participants including 1,058 women and 474 men. Of the 319 participants who lost a spouse during the study, 86% (n=276) participated in at least one of the three follow-up interviews. The primary reasons for non-response were refusal to participate (38%) and ill health or death at follow-up (42%).
How many subjects lost a spouse?
A total of 319 respondents from the original sample of 1,532 lost a spouse during the course of the study. Of these 319 ever-widowed, 276 persons (86%) participated in at least one of the three follow-up interviews. Specifically, 250 participated in wave 1, 210 participated in wave 2, and 106 participated in wave 3.
Why are there twice as many women as men?
Women were oversampled in an effort to maximize the number of baseline respondents who would go on to experience spousal loss in the near future. Thus, multivariate analyses should use weighted data to account for this oversampling.
Do all of the men in this study also have data collected from their spouse?
No. We have spousal data for 423 of the 474 men interviewed at baseline, and for 423 of the 1058 women interviewed at baseline.
Who are the matched controls?
Individuals from the original sample of 1,532 respondents were selected to match the widowed persons along the dimensions of age, sex, and race. The matched controls were re-interviewed at the three follow-up interviews at roughly the same time as their corresponding widowed persons. Some of the controls participated in multiple waves, but most participated in only one. Controls are not the same from wave to wave, and they can differ from the MacBat controls as well.
from the MacArthur Foundation made it possible to gather additional
health-related data at Baseline and Waves 1and 2 on a subset of 432
respondents. These respondents included all respondents in couples where
the husband was 70 or older, and all CLOC respondents who became widowed
or served as a control. Data collected from these respondents included
assessments of gait and movement, memory, cognitive functioning, height,
weight, eyesight, and chemical and endocrine measurements based on blood
and urine samples.
happened to the baseline blood and urine samples?
data based on blood and urine samples are complete except at Baseline,
where most data is missing because specimens were ruined when a freezer
Are the controls for the MacBat the same as for the widow
Not necessarily. Some individuals serve as controls for both
samples; others serve either as a control for the CLOC sample only or as
a control for the MacBat sample only.
are there so few controls at wave 1?
were not available for all bereaved subjects at the 6-month follow-up
because funding was cut from the proposed budget, making it impossible
to collect data on the optimal number of controls. However, funding
was later reinstated, enabling the researchers to obtain data on a larger
number of controls at the Wave 2 interview.
many subjects have complete data for all waves?
CLOC has complete (i.e., three waves) data for 106 widowed persons.
many subjects lost a spouse?
total of 319 respondents from the original sample of 1,532 lost a spouse
during the course of the study. Of these, 250 participated in wave 1,210
participated in wave 2, and 106 participated in wave 3. (From Table)
many variables are there?
are 4,438 variables in the CLOC-MACBAT Merged data set.
is the content of the CLOC variables?
A major goal of the CLOC project is to investigate how loss of a spouse influences psychological and social adjustment among older Americans. Hence, the CLOC data were designed to assess social, behavioral, psychological, and physical reactions to bereavement. Included in this assessment are instruments that measure grief reactions, mental health, physical functioning and health behaviors, personality, social support, and interpersonal relationships. The entire list of variables can be found in the Codebook entitled, "Contents of the CLOC-MACBAT merged dataset." (See below)
are the codebooks?
can be found on our website: www.cloc.isr.umich.edu/codebooks.htm.
do the variable numbers represent?
numbers simply reflect the wave when the data were obtained. The first
digits reflect the wave.
digits reflect the question content. You can find comparable measures
of items across the multiple waves by looking at the latter 2-3 digits
of the variable number. You can also view the documentation found in the codebook.pdf file which also lists which
specific variables are available at each wave.
is the couples' dataset?
dataset is a cross-sectional source of data, consisting of the Baseline
responses of both members of 423 couples. Results from a hierarchical
linear modeling analysis indicated that there was no couple level effect
on mortality. Hence, individuals can be treated as independent sources
of data when mortality is the dependent variable of interest.
data set should I use?
set you use will likely depend on your research question. If you are
interested in factors that affect marital dynamics, for example, you
may wish use the couples' data set in order to have responses from both
members of the couple. If you are interested in examining the change
in grief reactions over time, you may wish to use a data
set in which you only select those persons who participated as a widowed subject for each wave of data collection.
If you are interested in understanding whether widowhood fundamentally
changes the psychology of older adults, you may wish to use the widow/control
data set, which consists of the responses of both widows and controls
at each wave. When in doubt, start with the CLOC.data (the core dataset) and begin to subselect the sample you are most
interested in. Yes, almost any analysis can be performed with the core dataset.
there created indexes?
the codebook for details of scale construction and alphas.
Are labels provided?
for each of the constructed variables are provided. In general, higher
values reflect greater levels of the construct that is being measured.
scales are most frequently used?
scales that you use will depend on the research question you choose to
pursue. However, in some cases multiple measures are used to assess the
same underlying construct. Thus far, the more common measures include
the 11-item CES-D, the Bradburn Positive Well-Being scale, the satisfaction with
health scale, and the functional health index.
are the most frequently used control variables?
Control measures typically consist of demographic factors known to affect mortality. The following are often used: age, gender, income, education, and race. In addition, you may wish to control for other design features such as the length of time between baseline responses and wave 1 interviews. This variable is referred to as the "GAP" variable.
variable should be used to identify widows?
means that the participant is one of 319 persons who lost their spouse
over the course of the entire study. To identify those individuals who
lost a spouse who also participated in a subsequent wave, select cases
in which V1003=11 (CLOC Wave 1); v4003=21 (CLOC Wave 2); v7003=31(CLOC
is the "Gap" variable?
lists the number of months from time from baseline interview to the wave
What is the weight and how was it created?
number 903 is the final centered weight that adjusts for sampling and
was missing data handled?
How is missing data coded?
Usually "8" is "don't know", and "9" is "not applicable".
there any subjects who are missing?
subject 1151 is missing in all datasets.
process was used to impute missing values?
used a Stochastic Proportional Missing Value Imputation procedure. First,
the proportion of responses for each category for that variable was calculated.
Then a randomizing procedure was used to fill the missing value with a
random integer with frequencies proportionate to the frequency of that
integer for the variable as a whole. This procedure does not use any characteristics
of the individual and therefore tends to increase variance but it does
not introduce any systematic error in a way that would require adjustment
for degrees of freedom
What does the "S" mean as a prefix for many variables?
"S" is used to refer to data obtained directly from one's spouse.
Remember that for 846 persons, we have both their OWN answer to every
question administered at Baseline, and their SPOUSE'S response to every
question administered at the baseline interview. The "V" variables
denote one's own response, while the S" variable denotes one's spouse's
is a match ID?
match ID identifies respondents at the couple level, matching up their
own ID with that of their spouse.
health measures are available?
broad array of health measures and health behaviors are included in both
the CLOC data set and the MACBAT data set. These data include self-rated
health, health symptoms, conditions, ADLs, smoking, drinking, diet, and
sleep patterns. Consult the codebooks for specific information on variables.
can I tell if and when a subject died?
at the "Date of Death" or "Vital Status 2001".
How were grief scales computed?
They were based on the individual grief variables with the missing valued imputed, indicated by an "I" suffix. A description is on the web page and in the codebook.
are the variables with the "I" suffix?
"I" signifies imputed variables for grief items. We wanted variables
with complete data for these core items so all missing cells were imputed
and new variables were created. These variables were used to create the
grief scales and subscales.
did the grief items come from?
The grief items were drawn from several widely used grief scales, including the Bereavement Index, Present Feelings about Loss, and Texas Revised Inventory of Grief. A summary of these scales can be found in the article: Carr, D. & Utz, R. 2002. Late-life widowhood in the United States: New directions in research and theory. Ageing International, 27.
papers have been published?
CLOC research team is an active group; several papers are in progress,
under review, and forthcoming on a continual basis. You should regularly
check the projects and publications page on this site. As soon as a paper
is published, we make a machine-readable linkage available from the web
Why are there grief scale scores for control respondents at Wave 3?
Wave 3, a "grief equivalent" set of 10 questions was asked of
married controls. Unlike the widowed respondents, these questions are
not asked in reference to any specific event. The time frame is the past
month. These items allow a comparison of grief scores in widows with similar
items in controls. The ten questions are as follows:
scales were created for anxiety (alpha=.695) and despair (alpha=.688)
in controls. The anger scale was a single item in controls. The overall
grief scale (alpha=.718) in controls was derived from 7 items rather than
the 19 used in the widowed population.