Family and Relationships Study

Susan L. Brown
Wendy D. Manning
Krista K. Payne

The Family and Relationship Study (FRS) data are composed of a nationally representative sample of 7,000+ households. In keeping with the goals of the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH), the primary focus of the FRS is to understand the causes and consequences of changing family and household structure. The FRS focuses almost exclusively on family issues to maximize the understanding of family structure, family process, family relationships, and family context.


The FRS is a nationally representative survey of 7,517 adults aged 18-65 in 2013. The FRS was designed by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research (NCFMR) at Bowling Green State University (BGSU), and was modeled largely on the 1987-88 National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH). The design was adopted to allow analyses of family change over the past 25 years. The data were collected by GfK—formerly Knowledge Networks (KN)—employing their nationally representative on-line panel sample.

Using a dual sampling frame of both addressed-based-sampling and random-digit-dialing to randomly recruit a probability-based sample—the KN panel includes both online and offline populations in the United States. The sampling frame has both listed and unlisted phone numbers, telephone and non-telephone households, as well as cell-phone only households. When needed, GfK provides hardware and internet access to panel members. The FRS is not the first social science study to be drawn from the KN panel. The KN panel has been used in federally funded data collections on couples and families (Lichter & Carmalt, 2009; Rosenfeld & Thomas, 2012; Sassler, Addo, & Lichter, 2012), and the quality of the panel is comparable to or exceeds those derived from RDD surveys (Chang & Krosnick, 2009). Further, data are weighted to adjust for oversampling of various subgroups (e.g. cohabiting couples).


  1. Household Roster
    1. Children
    2. Coparenting
  2. Non-Resident Roster
    1. Parents
    2. Children
    3. Spouse/Partner
  3. Family Background
  4. Parental Coresidence
  5. Family Ties Across Households
    1. Children
    2. Parents
  6. Marital History
  7. Cohabitation & Cohabitation History
  8. Dating Relationships
  9. Relationship Quality
  10. Sexual history, Sexual Orientation, and Sexual Identity
  11. Schooling
  12. Criminal Justice Experience
  13. Work Experience, Public Assistance, & Finances/Income
  14. Family Processes
  15. Health
    1. Mental Health
    2. Physical Health
  16. Attitudes & Views


Brown, Susan L., Wendy D. Manning, Krista K. Payne, & Huijing Wu. “Living Apart Together (LAT) Relationships in the U.S.” [Presented as a poster at PAA 2016.]

Eickmeyer, Kasey J., Wendy D. Manning, Susan L. Brown, & Karen B. Guzzo. “Income Pooling in Partnerships with Children: The Roles of Resident and Nonresident Stepchildren.” [Presented at PAA 2018.]

Eickmeyer, Kasey J., Wendy D. Manning, & Susan L. Brown. “What’s Mine is Ours? Income Pooling in Complex Families.” [Presented at PAA 2017]

Guzzo, Karen Benjamin, Paul Hemez, Lydia Anderson, Wendy Manning, & Susan Brown. “Is Variation in Biological and Residential Ties to Children Linked to Mothers’ Parental Stress and Perceptions of Co-Parenting?” [Revise and resubmit at the Journal of Family Issues.]

Guzzo, Karen Benjamin, Paul Hemez, Wendy Manning, & Susan Brown. “Parent-Adult Child Relationship Quality: Variation by Union Status and Childbearing.” [Presented as a poster at NCFR 2017.]