Life Events


Questions about adverse life events were asked at ages 36 (1982), 43 (1989), 53 (1999) and 60-64 (2006-10) years. Items are not identical at all ages, but variously refer to:

  • serious illness

  • divorce or separation

  • death or injury of a relation, friend or close contact

  • problems with relations or friends

  • experience of burglary or robbery

  • crises or disappointments at work, and

  • crises or disappointments with family or close contacts 

At ages 36 and 43 years (but not since) follow-up questions asked about reactions to the events, and whether these events had changed the lives of survey members. 

A list of the questions and variable names for the life events sections can be seen below. In 1982, the questions were mostly phrased in terms of events happening to 'friends or relatives'. This was adapted in successive years, hence why there are not many direct equivalent variables across all four collections.

Several other 1982 life events variables are present, they can be found on Skylark by searching for 'year and category' (1982 and category 'social support or life events').

Life Events Questions

1982

1989

1999

2006-10

Have you had an accident or received an injury that has affected you for a month or more in the last 12 months?

AC89

ac

AC09

Have you had any serious difficulties with any of your children, because of their health or behavior or for other reasons in the last 12 months?

CHDF89

chdf

CHDF09

Have you had any serious disagreements with your spouse/partner or felt betrayed or disappointed by them in the last 12 months?

DSSP89

dssp

DSSP09

Have you moved house in the last 12 months?

HOUM89

hou2

HOU209

Did you move away from the area where most of your friends lived?

HOUMA89

houm

HOUM09

Have you developed, or found out that you have a serious illness or disability in the last 12 months?

ILL89

ill

ILL09

Have you lost your job or thought you would soon lose your job in the last 12 months?

LJOB89

ljob

LJOB09

Have you fallen out or had a serious disagreement with a friend or relative (other than your spouse/partner or children) or someone you know well or felt betrayed by them in the last 12 months?

RDIS89

rdis

RDIS09

Has a friend or relative (other than your spouse/partner or children) or someone you know well died in the last 12 months?

RELDI82

RELD89

reld

RELD09

Has a friend or relative (other than your spouse/partner or children) or someone you know well had a serious accident or illness or received a serious injury in the last 12 months?

RELI82 / RELH82

RELIL89

relil

RELIL09

Have you lost contact with a close friend or relative (other than your spouse/partner or children) for any other reason in the last 12 months?

RLOS89

rlos

RLOS09

Have you been assaulted, robbed or been a victim of attempted robbery in the last 12 months?

ROBB82

ROB89

rob

ROB09

Have your spouse/partner had a serious accident or illness, or received a serious injury, or been assaulted in the last 12 months?

SPAC89

SPAC3

SPAC09

Have your spouse/partner had any other crises or serious disappointments in their work in the last 12 months?

SPCR89

spcr

SPCR09

Have your spouse/partner lost their job or thought they would soon lose their job in the last 12 months?

SPLJ89

splj

SPLJ09

Have you had any other serious upsets or disappointments in the last 12 months?

UPSET82

UPS89

ups

UPS09

Have you had any other crises or serious disappointments in your work or career in general in the last 12 months?

WKCR82

WKC89

wkc

WKC09


A summary of these events at ages 36 and 43 years can be found in Hatch et al. (2009).  These authors categorise life events as family and economic stressors vs. interpersonal relationship stressors, with reference to total number of events (0, 1, 2, 3 or 4+), and whether there was life change (no stressors, stressors with no change, stressors with change).


Obtaining the standard life events variables

  • As the life events variables are largely independent of each other, it has not been possible to select a standard basket.
  • If you are interested in an aspect of this topic, an appropriate keyword search (based on the question text) on Skylark should give the results you need.
  • For example, search for 'robbery', 'moved house' or 'serious disagreement'.
  • You can then email the XML of your saved basket to us in support of your application.