Support #1758

Computing variable for distance to mother / father (using pafar, mafar, parmar)

Added by Albert Ward 3 months ago. Updated 3 months ago.

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I'm trying to compute a variable measuring how far a respondent lives from their parents, using pafar and mafar.

I had a couple of questions regarding this:

1. I assume mafar and pafar are shown to respondents regardless of where their parents live, i.e. even if they live in the same household?

2. Regarding when mother and father live together: mafar is distance to mother if alive; respondents are then asked pafar if their parents are not living together. Ergo, mafar applies to both parents if they live together; if not, then it applies only to the mother. Is this right?

3. Both mafar and pafar apply to either biological or step parents (LVRel = 1,2,9,10). Which takes precedence in terms of distance if both biological and step parents are alive? Or is this not specified?

4. Though mafar and pafar can apply to either biological or step parents, parmar (whether parents live together), which determines whether pafar is asked, only applies to biological parents. So, for instance, if a respondent had a biological mother and step father living apart, they wouldn't be asked pafar, which seems wrong to me? Further, if a respondent had a biological mother and father alive though not living together (and no step parents), they would be shown pafar, but if the respondent also had a step parent, they wouldn't be shown pafar, which also seems wrong?

Sorry if I'm misunderstanding anything, and thanks again,


Updated by Understanding Society User Support Team 3 months ago

  • Private changed from Yes to No

Many thanks for your enquiry. The Understanding Society team is looking into it and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

We aim to respond to simple queries within 48 hours and more complex issues within 7 working days.

Best wishes,
Understanding Society User Support Team


Updated by Understanding Society User Support Team 3 months ago

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1. Yes. You can verify this by selecting the cases for which w_mnspid~=-8/w_fnspid~=-8
2. Yes
3. The parent with whom they have the most contact with. Take a look at the interviewer instructions in the questionnaire: "IF RESPONDENT HAS BOTH BIOLOGICAL AND STEP/ADOPTIVE FATHER, QUESTION REFERS TO THE ONE RESPONDENT HAS THE MOST CONTACT WITH"
4. No. They are only not asked w_pafar if both biological parents are alive and there are no step parents. You can check this by using the follwoing Stata syntax:
tab k_pafar if (k_lvrel2==1|k_lvrel10==1) & k_parmar<0

Hope this helps.

Best wishes,
Understanding Society User Support Team


Updated by Understanding Society User Support Team 3 months ago

A correction to the first answer. LVREL asked about non-co-resident family members ONLY. See the Question text and the Interviewer Instructions for LVREL:

We now have a few questions about contact you have with family members not living here with you.
Excluding relatives who are living in this household with you at the moment, can you tell me which of these types of relatives you have alive at the

Interviewer Instruction

However,as you can check using w_mnspid & w_fnspid, some reported mothers and fathers even though they were living with them in the same household. But these constituted a small proportion. In Wave 11, of the 13,387 individuals who chose k_lvrel1==1 or k_lvrel9==1, only 849 (7%) were living with their nat/stp mother in the same hh (k_mnspid~=-8). We are investigating whethere there is any further information about these cases.


Updated by Albert Ward 3 months ago

Hi, that's all very helpful thank you! Sorry I misunderstood for whatever reason about the pafar / parmar conditions, thanks for clarifying

I was going to ask about why some respondents report parents outside of the house even when they're living with them. It would be interesting to know why.


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