B291 - Developing access to the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children a scoping study - 01/01/2003

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Prof Jean Golding (University of Bristol, UK)
Dr Leon Feinstein (Early Intervention Foundation, UK), Prof George Davey Smith (University of Bristol, UK)
Title of project: 
Developing access to the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children: a scoping study.
Proposal summary: 

In this note we describe the capability of ALSPAC to add to national data resources available for UK social scientists interested in studying patterns of social change over the post-war period.

The focus is on ALSPAC as a "missing cohort," i.e. its value in relation to the 1958, 1970 and Millennium Cohorts, rather than as a self-contained study. Therefore, we do not describe the full breadth of ALSPAC but rather draw out the common elements that might be of use in a cross-cohort study. We describe the data provided by these four cohort studies that may be of value to social scientists interested in studying and analysing national patterns and post-war trends in relation to the following related issues:

  1. child attainment and development
  2. the family and social contexts of children
  3. the characteristics and behaviours of families and parents

We describe some of the key variables that would be of use to social scientists interested in addressing these issues separately or jointly. This is far from being an exhaustive list of all the many domains of measurement in these four rich studies but is indicative of the breadth and commonality of measurement that social scientists could draw on in a cross-cohort study. We focus on construct measurement without providing any discussion of appropriate methods for any particular cross-cohort analysis.

To structure the discussion of variables and measurement we adopt a classification that we hope spans the different disciplines of social scientists who may wish to explore the cross-cohort issues. The following broad categories are used:

  1. Socio-economic and demographic factors
  2. Characteristics of the home & family
  3. Proximal processes within the home
  4. Child factors
  5. Other contexts

The variables described under these headings are specified below. For each of these variables the following sections then set out key measures in the four datasets.

Socio-economic and demographic factors

Family SEG

Parental employment status and details

Parental education

Household income

Family structure and family size

Age of parents


Characteristics of the home & family


Pregnancy and birth of the study child

Parental physical health (as child)

Parental physical health (as adult)

Parental mental health

Parental attitudes, beliefs & values

Proximal processes within the home




Home learning

Interpersonal relationships

Child factors

Ante-natal health

Child development measures

Physical health

Other contexts


Average income & education

Social capital

Pre-school & other child-care

Type & use

Age started formal care



Informal care

School factors

Characteristics of the child in school

Characteristics of the school

Peer group




Date proposal received: 
Wednesday, 1 January, 2003
Date proposal approved: 
Wednesday, 1 January, 2003
Cross Cohort Study
Primary keyword: