Marital History


Study members were first asked for details of their marriages in 1965. This information was updated in 1966,1968 and 1971.
In 1972 study members were asked to confirm their marriage details and were also asked about their spouse's and their parents' marital history; this information was updated in 1977. In 1982 a full marital history was recorded from their first marriage to the present day, this was updated in 1989 (or collected from new if the study member was not interviewed in 1982), and updated again in 1999.
In 2006-10 and 2014-16, study members were asked if, since the previous data collection, they had married, remarried, separated, divorced or had been widowed.

At each wave, study members were asked to the number of marriages and how each marriage ended. The year of the start and end (if relevant) of each marriage has also been recorded.

A set of derived variables was created for:

  • marital status at each wave
  • age at first and subsequent marriages
  • the total number of marriages
  • how each marriage ended
  • year of each separation/divorce/widowhood

Obtaining the standard marital history variables

  • You can obtain a list of the standard topic variables to use in an NSHD data sharing request by selecting the link at the end of this page.
  • The XML version of the link can be sent to the LHA as part of a data sharing request.
  • Simply use your browser's Save As facility to save the list of variables to a file on your computer.
  • You can then email the XML version to us in support of your application, or when you fill in the data access application form and it asks which variables you need, mention the 'marital history standard basket' along with any others.


HTML version of the standard variables to view

Download the XML for the marital history standard basket