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ESRA 2023 Glance Program

All time references are in CEST

Children and Youth cohort studies: developments and innovations 2

Session Organisers Professor Lisa Calderwood (UCL Cente for Longitudinal Studies )
Professor Gary Pollock (Manchester Metropolitan University )
TimeThursday 20 July, 16:00 - 17:30
Room U6-11

Longitudinal cohort studies of children and youth are a core part of the survey infrastructure in many countries, and in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a renewed focus on such studies as vital evidence bases for child and adolescent research including on well-being, education and labour market. However, the broader context of such studies is increasing challenges with ensuring population representativeness, participant engagement and inclusivity, and the need for sufficient analytical power for research about hard-to-reach groups to inform vital policy questions.

This session will cover recent developments and innovations in child and youth cohort studies. This includes study design approaches for newly established child and youth cohorts, as well as developments in existing cohort studies who survey children and young people.

The session aims to showcase recent developments in the research landscape around child and youth cohorts, and to explore survey methodological issues around surveying children and young people.

Submissions are particularly welcomed on:
- design and implementation of new child and youth cohort studies
- developments in existing child and youth cohort studies
- giving children and young people a voice in study design, and participant co-production
- measurement in child and youth cohorts, including questionnaires and direct assessments
- collecting data on sensitive topics from children and young people
- data collection innovations and mode
- inclusivity in child and youth cohort studies
- assessing the reliability and validity of children and young people’s self-reports
- preventing non-response and innovative approaches to participant engagement
- the challenges of retaining young people’s contact and interest in surveys over time
- ethical issues in involving children and young people in surveys, including informed consent and young people’s rights.
- addressing international comparisons and data harmonisation

Submissions need not be restricted to these specific examples.

Keywords: children, youth, cohort studies


What are alternative measures of socio-economic status in surveys with 8-year-olds?

Dr Jessica Herzing (University of Bern) - Presenting Author
Dr Simon Seiler (University of Bern)
Dr Andrea Erzinger (University of Bern)
Mr Tobias Ackermann (University of Bern)

Previous research has shown that surveying young children is challenging in terms of survey design (e.g., de Leeuw 2003) and measurement error in key survey variables (e.g., Kreuter et al. 2010). The concept of socio-economic status (SES) or disadvantages, however, gets established the moment children start to compare themselves to others (see Heberle 2017). Among different dimensions of SES, particularly the concept of wealth seems to be discernible for young children (Shutt et al. 2016; Horwitz et al. 2014). Furthermore, the famous German Marienthal study (Jahoda, et al. 1960, p. 4 ff.) showed that children of unemployed parents lower their expectations regarding Christmas presents. Consequently, one can assume that children can use certain proxies for reporting the socio-economic status of the family. Using data from a standardized, probability-based, self-administered, computer-assisted questionnaire of 8-year-olds in Switzerland, we explore alternative measures of SES. More specifically, we use images of buildings, the surrounding of buildings, and potential birthday presents, whether there is a bathroom present and whether children have their own bedrooms to estimate students’ socio-economic status. We validate these measures with the reports of the parents as well as traditional measures of socio-economic status and administrative data by using correspondence and correlation analysis. Furthermore, we use multivariate models to explore whether our findings are robust. This work demonstrates the potential of alternative measures for socio-economic status when surveying young children using wealth cues and guides future research on alternative measures for socio-economic status when surveying young children.

Growing Up in Ireland: Evidence based development of the New Birth Cohort Questionnaire Content

Dr Clare Farrell (Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth) - Presenting Author
Mr Caolan Rooney (Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth)

Growing Up in Ireland (GUI), the national longitudinal study of children and young people was established in 2006 and tracks the lives and experiences of participants over time, helping to identify the factors that support or impede their development. The study is an invaluable national data and research resource. Data from the study helps to identify the impact of policy changes, unexpected societal events, and the underlying mechanisms that support or impede children and young people’s well-being outcomes.

In 2022, the Irish government approved the establishment of a new GUI infant cohort to commence in 2024. This will be in addition to the two existing cohorts recruited along with their parents at the ages of 9 years and also 9 months in 2007 and 2008. During autumn 2022, the research unit at Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) [the study sponsor] worked closely with the Irish Central Statistics Office (CSO) to identify priority data needs, data gaps and suitable instruments to inform the development of parent questionnaires for the new GUI infant cohort.

The development of these questionnaires was informed by a scoping review of the literature, lessons from international surveys and best practices, and a series of consultations with Irish academics, NGOs and policymakers along with input from national and international experts. This process of identifying data needs and gaps to finalise the questionnaire content will ensure the survey is scientifically sound, policy relevant and practically useful. This presentation will provide insights into the questionnaire’s development highlighting the aims and outcomes of the questionnaire development process, as well as discussing key lessons arising for research which aims to inform evidence based policymaking.

Growing Up in Québec: main parameters, data collection mode, and retention strategies

Mrs Nancy Illick (Institut de la statistique du Québec) - Presenting Author
Mrs Delphine Provençal (Institut de la statistique du Québec)

Growing Up in Québec is the improved second edition of the Québec Longitudinal Study of Child Development (QLSCD). Its main objective remains similar to that of the first edition: to better understand the factors that contribute to the well-being of young people born in Québec in 2020-2021. A pilot study underway since 2018 has provided important lessons to improve the protocols and parameters of the main study.
This presentation will first highlight the design of the study, in which families living in socio-economic poverty are overrepresented. The multiple data collection methods and the strategies used to provide flexibility during this pandemic period while still ensuring data comparability will be showcased. The many themes covered in the study as well as the plan for administering cognitive tests and obtaining direct measures of development in the first 5 years of children’s lives will also be presented.
Secondly, we will show the participation rates for the first six waves of the pilot study (children aged 5 months (in 2018) to 5 years (in 2023)) and the first two waves of the main study (children aged 5 months (in 2021-2022) and 17 months (in 2022-2023)). Since a lower participation rate was observed among fathers than mothers, we will also present the results of a focus group conducted in 2023 with fathers from different socio-economic backgrounds enrolled in the pilot study.
Finally, respondent retention strategies implemented in the pilot and the main study will be discussed.

The Child Development Supplement to the US Panel Study of Income Dynamics: Results, Innovations, and Plans

Dr Narayan Sastry (University of Michigan) - Presenting Author

The Child Development Supplement (CDS) to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) is a major ongoing nationally representative longitudinal study of children in the US. It covers multiple cohorts of children and follows them through childhood and adolescence. In this presentation, we describe CDS results, recent innovations, and plans.

CDS interviews children’s primary caregivers (typically the mother) and older children themselves. Home visits in each wave supported the administration of achievement tests in math and reading, the collection of time diaries, and anthropometric measurements.

CDS began in 1997 with a cohort of children aged 0–12 years and collected three waves of data approximately five years apart. CDS was relaunched in 2014 to collect information on all children under age 18 years in PSID families and as a successor to the original CDS cohort who, by 2014, had all reached adulthood. A subsequent wave of CDS was completed in 2019 and planning is underway for the next wave in 2023. CDS is following the 2014 cohort through childhood and adolescence, but is also adding new births to PSID families that occur between successive waves. As a result, CDS now combines a child cohort study, but covering multiple cohorts, with a repeated cross-sectional design.

An important recent innovation was to conduct a “between wave” reinterview of CDS children in 2021 to capture effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Another recent innovation was to add an immigrant refresher sample to PSID in order for CDS to capture children of recent immigrant families who comprise a growing share of the US child population but are otherwise missed because of PSID’s design. An innovation planned for CDS-2023 is to conduct interviews with older children and adolescents (ages 8–17 years) using multiple modes: web, telephone, video, and in-person.