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Longitudinal Studies of Aging (LSOAs)

    • Owner / manager
    • Study and sample characteristics
    • Major foci
    • Special supplements and resources
    • Links to other datasets
    • Papers published
    • Dataset accessibility and cost
    • Help desk


Key web links   

Home page
Questionnaires, survey descriptions, and data file contents are available on each survey’s webpage



Dataset Summary

The Longitudinal Studies of Aging are two nationally representative studies of elders from 1984-1990 (LSOA I) and 1994-2000 (LSOA II).  Conducted as a spinoff of the National Health Interview Study (NHIS), the LSOAs contain information on a variety of physical, cognitive and social patient characteristics, including medical conditions, health services utilization, physical and social functioning, living arrangements and financial status, and more.  In addition, data in LSOAs have been merged with information from the National Death Index to provide dates and causes of death.  Data were collected by in-person interview for the baseline assessment and by telephone for follow-up interviews.  Data are available for free upon request.

Dataset Details

Dataset owner / manager  

National Center for Health Statistics and National Institute on Aging

Study and sample characteristics   

Two longitudinal studies of civilian, non-institutionalized individuals age 70 and older at study entry.  LSOA I contains data on 7527 subjects followed from 1984 to 1990.  LSOA II contains data on 9447 subjects followed from 1994 to 2000.

Major foci  

Both LSOA I and LSOA II collected similar types of data.  Major foci include:

•    Chronic conditions and impairments
•    Health care utilization
•    Unmet needs for care
•    Mental health and use of mental health services
•    Family, environment, relationship, financial status
•    Health behaviors
•    Health insurance
•    Physical, cognitive, and social functioning

Special supplements and resources   

The LSOAs are intimately connected with the National Health Interview Study, the National Health Interview Survey on Disability, and the Supplement on Aging studies.  Details of these connections are described at

Links to other datasets  

Data from the LSOA surveys are linked to death certificate data from the National Death Index. This includes a public-access file with limited data, and a restricted-access file with more in-depth information.

Papers published  

Click here for a PubMed search for articles using this dataset. 

A bibliography of publications using LSOA data can be found at the following web link (although note that the bibliography is outdated):

Examples of papers published using LSOA data include:

Comparison study: the impact of on-site comprehensive service access on self-reported health and functional status of older adults.
Young Y, Spokane LS, Shaw BA, Macera MA, Krout JA.
J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2009 Mar;10(3):167-73.

Completion of a durable power of attorney for health care: what does cognition have to do with it?
McGuire LC, Rao JK, Anderson LA, Ford ES.
Gerontologist. 2007 Aug;47(4):457-67.

Cognitive functioning as a predictor of functional disability in later life.
McGuire LC, Ford ES, Ajani UA.
Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2006 Jan;14(1):36-42.

Dataset accessibility and cost  

Data are free.

LSOA II baseline data are available in CD-ROM form upon request from the CDC (e-mail  Follow-up data from waves 2 and 3 of the study are available as web-based downloads or on CD-ROM.  See:

Help Desk  

For help, contact

Request a consultation (SGIM members only)  

Members of SGIM may request a one-time consultation with an expert in this dataset, for example to explore research ideas or to troubleshoot a problem or vexing question. Please click here for guidelines and the request process.