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Longitudinal Study of Generations, 1971




Bengston, V. L. (2020, December 26). Longitudinal Study of Generations, 1971.


The Longitudinal Study of Generations (LSOG), initiated in 1971, began as a survey of intergenerational relations among 300 three-generation California families with grandparents (then in their sixties), middle-aged parents (then in their early forties), and grandchildren (then aged 15 to 26). The study broadened in 1991 and now includes a fourth generation, the great-grandchildren of these same families. The LSOG, with a fully elaborated generation-sequential design, allows comparisons of sets of aging parents and children at the same stage of life but during different historical periods. These comparisons make possible the investigation of the effects of social change on inter-generational solidarity or conflict across 35 years and four generations, as well as the effects of social change on the ability of families to buffer stressful life transitions (e.g., aging, divorce and remarriage, higher female labor force participation, changes in work and the economy, and possible weakening of family norms of obligation), and the effects of social change on the transmission of values, resources, and behaviors across generations. The study also examines how intergenerational relationships influence individuals' well-being as they transition across the life course from early, to middle, to late adulthood. The LSOG contains information on family structure, household composition, affectual solidarity and conflict, values, attitudes, behaviors, role importance, marital relationships, health and fitness, mental health and well-being, caregiving, leisure activities, and life events and concerns. Demographic variables include age, sex, income, employment status, marital status, socioeconomic history, education, religion, ethnicity, and military service. This file only contains the first wave in 1971.

Presence of common scales: Affectual Solidarity Reliability, Consensual Solidarity (Socialization), Associational Solidarity, Functional Solidarity, Intergenerational Social Support, Normative Solidarity, Familism, Structural Solidarity, Intergenerational Feelings of Conflict, Management of Conflict Tactics, Rosenberg Self-Esteem, Depression (CES-D), Locus of Control, Bradburn Affect Balance, Eysenck Extraversion/Neuroticism, Anxiety (Hopkins Symptom Checklist), Activities of Daily Living (IADL/ADL), Religious Ideology, Political Conservatism, Gender Role Ideology, Individualism/Collectivism, Materialism/Humanism, Work Satisfaction, Gilford-Bengtson Marital Satisfaction.

The ARDA has added five additional variables to the original data set to enhance the users' experience on our site.

Data File

Cases: 3496
Variables: 1044
Weight Variable: None

Data Collection


Funded By

United States Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health
National Institute on Aging

Collection Procedures

Computer-assisted self interview (CASI), face-to-face interview, mail questionnaire, self-enumerated questionnaire, telephone interview

Sampling Procedures

Families were drawn randomly from a subscriber list of 840,000 members of a California Health Maintenance Organization in Los Angeles. Families were recruited by enlisting a grandfather over the age of 60 who was part of a three-generation family that was willing to participate.

Principal Investigators

Vern L. Bengston, University of Southern California-Los Angeles

Related Publications

Bengtson, Vern L., Biblarz, Timothy J., Roberts, Robert E.L. How Families Still Matter: A Longitudinal Study of Youth in Two Generations. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Bengtson, Vern, Putney, Norella M., and Harris, Susan. 2013. Families and Faith: How Religion is Passed Down Across Generations. New York: Oxford University Press.

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