For reasons of comparability, many questions from the first survey in 1996 were retained unchanged in the following waves. In some areas, however, the instruments were modified and expanded, particularly in the fields of employment and transition to retirement, marital status and partners, intergenerational relationships, health and long-term care, need for care, and personal networks. Overall the respondents were asked for information on the following topics:

  • employment and retirement
  • generations, family and social networks
  • activities outside the work environment and volunteer work
  • housing situation and mobility
  • economic situation and economic behaviour
  • subjective wellbeing and quality of life
  • health and health behaviour
  • need of assistance and need of care
  • attitudes, norms, values and images of age and ageing


The DEAS thus covers a broad spectrum of topics. The study focuses on the overarching issue of the interrelation between diversity, social inequality, and quality of later life. It looks at two basic time perspectives: processes of social change and individual development over time. This involves an interdisciplinary link-up which notably includes socio-political, gerontological, sociological, psychological, economic and nursing science related issues.

The complete research instruments of the surveys can be downloaded here (English version currently available only for wave II, III, and IV): 

Survey Instruments of the DEAS.

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