The Americans’ Changing Lives study is the oldest ongoing nationally representative longitudinal study of how social, psychological, behavioral, medical, and environmental factors affect health outcomes and health changes over the adult life course.
Researchers have used ACL data to learn about a wide variety of topics, such as:
- A broad range of health outcomes (e.g., depressive symptoms, chronic health conditions, mortality) and psychosocial factors (e.g., optimism, mastery, self esteem) as they evolve across the full adult life course
- Life course patterns of work, marriage, and family formation since 1986
- Changes in adult health and well-being across three decades of follow-up
- The effect of neighborhood context on healthy aging
- Racial inequalities in health outcomes
- Exposure to industrial air pollution
- Epigenetic variation and DNA methylation
- (new in 2021) Recall of key life events when asked about them late in life
ACL is administered by the Social Environment and Health program at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. The founding director of ACL is Dr. James House. For more information about the people involved in our program, see Investigators.
New to ACL: Life-history interviews
Planning for ACL-LIFE is underway. The ACL team will interview survivors of the original ACL cohort by telephone, collecting full life histories from birth until the present day, to gather details about childbearing, marital histories, work histories, and other major events. With the new data we can compare the ways people report about events around the time they were happening, versus how they report on them after time has passed. This will be a new kind of interview, modeled on one given in countries across Europe in the Survey of Health and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) project.
Dr. Sarah Burgard is the principal investigator for the 2021 ACL-LIFE life-history interview