Research Group on Aging and the Life Course (FALL)

Research: ! German Aging Survey


German Aging Survey

Commissioned by the Bundesministeriums für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend (BMFSFJ), 1994-1997

In association with:

Forschungsgruppe Psychogerontologie
Universiteit Nijmegen
Postbus 9104
NL-6500 Nijemgen
infas-Sozialforschung GmbH

Margaretenstr. 1
D-53175 Bonn


The German Aging Survey is an interdisciplinary study of sociological and psychological issues of adulthood and aging. Objective life conditions and subjective self and life conceptualizations of the current and future cohorts of the German elderly are assessed. The empirical base is a survey (N=5000) of the 40-85 years old German population condurcted in 1996. The sampling and data collection were carried out by infas-Sozialforschung, Bonn.

The sociological part (designed by the Research Group an Aging and the Life Course, Free University of Berlin) focusses on objective life conditions in six life domains: family and social networks, paid and unpaid work, social and political participation and leisure activities, health, housing, financial situation, and intergenerational relations and transfers. The psychological part (designed by the Research Group on Psychogerontology, University of Nijmegen, Netherlands) comprises instruments assessing a broad spectrum of self and life conceptualizations. Standardized psychological instruments are used to obtain base-line indicators of well-being, such as life satisfaction, self-esteem, loneliness, and emotional well-being. The open-ended SELE sentence completion method contains 28 motivational and self- referencing sentence stems which elicit responses about an individual´s motivational space and the attributes of the knowing and acting self (hopes, fears, wishes, and goals; statements about present, past and future self and life; characteristics of aging and time). A complex computer-assisted coding scheme is used to analyze the content of the answers on the SELE instrument. This method provides data which tap a broad range of self- knowledge influencing an individual's life management and interpretations of life experiences.


Berlin (Forschungsgruppe Altern und Lebenslauf, FALL):

Prof. Dr. Martin Kohli (Director)
Dr. Harald Künemund (Researcher)
Dr. Andreas Motel (Researcher 1996-1997)
Jörg Potthast (Research assistant 1994-1995)
Waltraud Lay (Research assistant 1995-1997)
Uta Karstein (Research assistant 1997)

Nijmegen (Forschungsgruppe Psychogerontologie):

Prof. Dr. Freya Dittmann-Kohli (Director)
Christina Bode (Researcher)
Dr. Gerben Westerhof (Researcher)
Gertie DeGroen (Research assistant)

Main publications

Martin Kohli & Harald Künemund (Hrsg.) (2000): Die zweite Lebenshälfte. Gesellschaftliche Lage und Partizipation im Spiegel des Alters-Survey. Opladen: Leske + Budrich.

Martin Kohli, Harald Künemund, Andreas Motel & Marc Szydlik (2000): Grunddaten zur Lebenssituation der 40-85jährigen deutschen Bevölkerung. Ergebnisse des Alters-Survey. Berlin: Weißensee-Verlag.

Freya Dittmann-Kohli, Christina Bode & Gerben J. Westerhof (Hrsg.) (2001): Die zweite Lebenshälfte - Psychologische Perspektiven. Ergebnisse des Alters-Survey. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.

The questionnare (in german) can be downloaded in pdf-format: Lebenszusammenhänge, Selbst- und Lebenskonzeptionen. Erhebungsdesign und Instrumente des Alters-Survey. (12 MB)

For additional articles see our list of publications.

The dataset is available to scientific researchers at the Central Archive for Empirical Social Research, University of Cologne, study No. 3264.

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