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The Changing Lives of Older Couples Study (CLOC) is a large multi-wave prospective study of spousal bereavement.  The CLOC study is based on a two-stage area probability sample of 1,532 married men and women from the Detroit, Michigan Standardized Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA).  To be eligible for the study, respondents had to be English-speaking members of a married couple, where the husband was at least age 65.  All respondents were non-institutionalized and were capable of participating in a two-hour face-to-face interview.  

Baseline face-to-face interviews with the married older adults were conducted between June 1987 and April 1988.  Spousal loss was subsequently monitored using monthly death records provided by the State of Michigan and by reading daily obituaries in Detroit-area newspapers.  The National Death Index (NDI) and direct ascertainment of death certificates were used to confirm deaths and determine the cause of death.  Of the 335 respondents known to have lost a spouse during the five-year study period, 316 were contacted for possible interview (19 persons, or 6% had died during the interim).  Of the 316 contacted, 263 persons (83%) participated in at least one of the three follow-up interviews which were conducted at six months (Wave 1), 18 months (Wave 2), and 48 months (Wave 3) after the spouse's death.  

Each widowed person was assigned a same-age, same-sex, same-race matched control from the baseline sample.  Controls were reinterviewed at each of the three follow-ups (W1, W2, W3).  Controls are fewer in number than the widow(er)s at Wave 1 because the initial funding for the control sample was cut and not reinstated until half-way through the data collection period. 

The CLOC study, while primarily a prospective study of spousal bereavement, also includes a host of biomedical variables (often referred to as the MacBat variables).  The MacBat variables have been merged together with the CLOC data, resulting in a combined dataset with 1532 cases and over 3000 variables covering every aspect of social, psychological, and physical functioning of older adults.

 

Table 1:  Summary of Variables Available at Each Wave

Baseline (BL)
Wave 1 (W1)
Wave 2 (W2)
Wave 3 (W3)



Demographic
Financial
Housing
Life Events
Social Support
Work/Activities
Marriage
Family
Religion
World Views
Personality
Mood/Anxiety
DSM - Diagnosis
Well-Being
Health

MacBat Vars:
Motor
Cognitive
Physiology
Biochem
Endocrine
Nature of Loss
Grief Questions

Demographic
Financial
Housing
Life Events
Social Support
Work/Activities
Marriage
Family
Religion
World Views
Personality
Mood/Anxiety
DSM - Diagnosis
Well-Being
Health

MacBat Vars:
Motor
Cognitive
Physiology
Biochem
Endocrine

Grief Questions

Demographic
Financial
Housing
Life Events
Social Support
Work/Activities
Marriage
Family
Religion
World Views
Personality
Mood/Anxiety
DSM - Diagnosis
Well-Being
Health

MacBat Vars:
Motor
Cognitive
Physiology
Biochem
Endocrine

Grief Questions

Demographic
Financial
Housing
Life Events
Social Support
Work/Activities
Marriage
Family
Religion
World Views
Personality
Mood/Anxiety
DSM - Diagnosis
Well-Being
Health

 

 

Table 2:  Summary of Sample Sizes and Numbers of Variables for Analysis at Each Wave

  Baseline Wave 1 Wave 2 Wave 3
CLOC 1532 subjects

685 variables
250 widow(er)s
84 controls

692 variables
210 widow(er)s
213 controls

840 variables
106 widow(er)s
102 controls

893 variables
MacBat 432 subjects

410 variables
114 widow(er)s
100 controls

410 variables
100 widow(er)s
112 controls

410 variables
 

Table 3:  Overview of CLOC databases click here

Funding Sources:

  • R01-AG15948, National Institute of Aging
  • P01-AG05561, National Institute of Aging
  • Nancy Pritzker Research Network

 


University of Michigan - Institute for Social Research - Survey Research Center
Research Center for Group Dynamics - Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research