The National Study of Daily Experiences (NSDE), a national study led by David Almeida, professor of human development and family studies at Penn State, has received an additional $4 million of funding from the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health. NSDE is part of the larger Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) project, led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Institute on Aging, which overall will receive an additional $62 million of funding.
NSDE has collected comprehensive data on daily life from more than 3,000 adults since 1995, for a total of more than 40,000 individual’s days of data. Respondents were aged 25-74 when the study began.
The additional funding will allow NSDE investigators to collect a new wave of data on the original participants and information on a completely new sample, as well as study the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on daily stress processes, according to Almeida, who is also a Population Research Institute affiliate.
Researchers will collect the new data with telephone interviews — used since the onset of the study — and new mobile phone applications and surveys. The funding will also allow NDSE to assess physical and cognitive health using blood draws, physiological assessments and genetic panels. These additional markers will allow the researchers to better understand general health and well-being, as well as study predictors of Alzheimer's disease and related dementia later in life.
“MIDUS started in 1995 as a fairly standard project to try to understand midlife development,” Almeida said. “It has grown into this massive study that integrates standard assessments that we do in social science with biological information from participants. It is one of the first studies to integrate these two.”
The new funding will allow researchers to follow participants for another 10 years.
“This study has made me appreciate how day-to-day experiences are important for well-being today and in the future, as well how adulthood is very different depending on your socioeconomic status, racial minority status, gender, and other diverse factors,” Almeida said. “It’s made me think a lot about how I can maintain my own health and well-being.”
When MIDUS started, Almeida was a post-doctoral researcher at University of Michigan. He has been involved with the study since then, developing the NSDE subset and contributing to the larger data set.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to watch this work evolve and grow,” Almeida said. “At the end of the next post-pandemic data collection in a couple of years, I’ll be in my early 60s, and when I started this project, I was in my late 20s. My own development has occurred during this study of midlife, and it has been enlightening to watch these findings play out in my own life.”
NDSE receives additional support from the Penn State’s Survey Research Center and the Center for Healthy Aging in the College of Health and Human Development.
Additional researchers involved in the study include Jonathan Rush of the University of Victoria; Jacqueline Mogle of the Prevention Research Center at Penn State; Jennifer Piazza of California State University, Fullerton; Eric Cerino of Northern Arizona University; and Susan Charles of the University of California, Irvine.