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Guide to the Constructs Used in the PAIR Project

The University of Texas at Austin
Ted L. Huston
Project Director

Prepared By:

Ted L. Huston
John Caughlin
Renate Houts
Elizabeth Johnson
Sylvia Niehuis
Shanna Smith

Preface to Guidebook

This Guide to Constructs is designed to provide a summary of the variables included in a database integrating information across all four phases of the PAIR project. Many of the constructs reflect the responses of husbands and wives (a) to specific queries, or (b) to a series of queries centered on a particular theme. We provide an overview of how the data were collected, brief characterizations of each of the constructs and scales used in the PAIR Project, and indicate the phase(s) during which the relevant data were gathered. We also provide information about the source of the data (e.g., husband, wife, both spouses, interviewer) and, where necessary, whether the construct is defined at the individual or dyadic level.

This guide focuses on the quantitative data that have been gathered over the years. Our procedures also produced qualitative data. Although this guidebook describes many of the procedures we used which yielded qualitative responses, readers interested in the qualitative data should consult the Qualitative Data documentation.

The PAIR Project used a retrospective interview technique to gather data from newlyweds about their courtship experiences (see Huston, Surra, Cate & Fitzgerald, 1981; Surra & Huston, 1987; Huston, 1994). A summary of the procedures used to gather these data is included in order to better understand the constructs we derive from them. A telephone diary procedure, developed to gather data concerning the day-to-day life of husbands and wives, was also developed for this investigation (Huston, Robins, Atkinson, & McHale, 1987). The procedures used to gather and aggregate the data derived from the telephone diaries are described in order to clarify the meaning of the variables derived.

The "Guide to Constructs" is designed to be used in conjunction with (a) the Integrated Codebook and (b) the PAIR Project Guide to Scales and their Construction.

Seven codebooks have been developed for the PAIR Project:

  • Integrated database (1): This database combines much of the data from all sources into a comprehensive database (Appendix B);
  • Activity data Codebook (1): This codebook was created for a database that combined the telephone diary data gathered from the married couples across the four phases;
  • Married Couple Codebooks (4):. A codebook was created for data gathered from married couples at each of the four phases of data collection (i.e., newlyweds, married 1 year; married 2 years; married 13 years) (Newlyweds; 1 Year, 2 Years & 13 Years);
  • Divorced Couple Codebook (1): A codebook was created for the data gathered during Phase 4 from the spouses who had earlier divorced.

The data for the individual items used to create scales can be found in the database(s) and codebook(s) prepared for the phase(s) in which the relevant questions were asked. The names of the data files where the data are stored, as well as the names given to each of the questions, indices, and scales can be found in the codebooks. The codebooks also include the possible values (or response alternatives), and provide descriptive data for each variable and scale.

Table of Contents

Personal Attributes (PDF file)
Courtship (PDF file)
Marital Context and Consequences (PDF file)
Marriage as a Behavioral System (PDF file)
Marital Evaluations (PDF file)

Note: When referring to this work, please use the following citation: Huston, T.L., Caughlin, J., Houts, R. M., Johnson, E., Niehuis, S., & Smith, S. E. (1996). Guide to the PAIR Project Constructs, unpublished documentation, The University of Texas at Austin, http://www.utexas.edu/research/pair/ ourresearch/constructs.html

The PAIR Project at the University of Texas at Austin
Principal Investigator, Ted L. Huston
Page last modified: 2 August 2002