PREFER (Personal Resources of Elderly People with Multimorbidity: Fortification of Effective Health Behaviour) was a collaborative project of the German Centre of Gerontology (DZA) and the Freie Universität Berlin, Department of Health Psychology. The project was part of the multicentric Berlin research association AMA (Autonomy despite Multimorbidity in old Age).

The PREFER study investigated the extent to which psychosocial resources can help elderly people with multiple diseases to lead an independent life of high quality and autonomy, despite health constraints. The aim of the study was to find out how elderly people with multiple diseases can maintain and improve their health behaviour and their health. The study was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) (Kennzeichen 01ET0702). More information about the project PREFER can be found here. Iif you have any questions regarding PREFER data, please contact the FDZ team.


The project comprised two phases of funding: In the first phase (PREFER I, 2008 - 2010), it was examined whether the way a person deals with their illnesses, how they think about it, and what they do despite or even due to their own illnesses, could explain differences in quality of life and autonomy. The data base consisted of a standardised survey of 309 people aged 65 and over with a history of multiple diseases, with three points of measurement during the course of 2009, supplemented by various health and cognitive tests and the recording of all medicines taken regularly. For more information, see the first project phase on the PREFER project website. All respondents had previously taken part in the German Ageing Survey (DEAS) in 2008. Therefore, DEAS study participants already had provided a lot of information that could be used by combining the data.

The anonymised survey and test data of the PREFER I study are provided by the Research Data Centre for scientific secondary analyses as a Scientific Use File (SUF) (variable and value labels are available in German only). They can be linked to the anonymised survey data of DEAS 2008.

In the second funding phase (PREFER II, 2011 - 2014), two randomised control studies were used to develop and evaluate interventional modules in order to motivate elderly people with multiple illnesses to exercise physical activity and specifically to become physically (more) active. For more information, see the second project phase on the PREFER project website. PREFER II participants were neither DEAS nor PREFER I respondents. Data from the intervention study is not available from the Research Data Centre.