Demographics-The Common Cold Project - Carnegie Mellon University


Basic socioeconomic and demographic data were collected from all study participants via self-report questionnaires administered prior to quarantine, either via mail (BCS) or during a pre-challenge study visit (all Pittsburgh studies).  In some of the studies, additional data were obtained from other measures that collected demographic information but were not designed as demographic measures, per se.   For example, all participants reported their employment status as part of the Social Network Index (SNI) questionnaire.  In PCS1 and PCS2, data on birth order and spouse educational attainment were collected during the demographics component of the Life Events and Difficulties Schedule interview1.  

While not all variables were included in each study, several were consistently measured. Age, sex, employment status, and marital status were measured in all studies. There are, however, some notable differences in demographic measurements between studies. For example, the BCS does not include a measure of race/ethnicity. Additionally, although similar constructs were measured in more than one study (e.g., educational attainment), the specific measures selected to assess those constructs in some cases may vary (e.g., total years of schooling vs. highest level or degree). To facilitate combining the 5 studies, the data set includes standardized versions of differing variables that represent the same construct.

The table below lists all demographic constructs that are represented in the combined data set, and the specific measures of each that were assessed in each of the 5 studies. The actual demographic questions used in each study can be viewed by clicking on the relevant study name in the top row of the table.

Demographic Characteristic BCS PCS1 PCS2 PMBC PCS3
Birth order
Date of birth
Education, spouse
Employment status
Household size (number of people)
Income, household
Marital status
Number of children
Parents' age(s) (or age[s] at death if deceased)

1 LEDS demographic data are available for a subset (n=265) of the 334 participants in PCS2.1