ESRA 2019 Draft Programme at a Glance

Surveying Children and Young People 6

Session Organisers Ms Kate Smith (Centre for Longitudinal Studies, UCL Institute of Education, London )
Dr Emily Gilbert (Centre for Longitudinal Studies, UCL Institute of Education, London )
TimeFriday 19th July, 11:00 - 12:30
Room D05

Many large-scale surveys successfully collect a variety of distinct types of data from children and young people (up to the age of 25). However, there is relatively little methodological evidence in this area. Much of the literature relating to children and young people’s participation in research focuses on small-scale qualitative studies and tends to concentrate on ethical issues relating to the rights of children and young people in research. This session will cover the challenges and experiences of including children and young people in surveys as they move from childhood to adulthood, and related survey design issues. A major challenge when interviewing teenagers is that while children’s participation in surveys is often mediated by and involves their parents, teenagers and young people make autonomous decisions, bringing challenges particularly in terms of engagement. The session aims to explore a variety of methodological issues around surveying young people. Submissions are particularly welcomed on:
- designing questionnaires for children and young people, including question testing methods
- collecting data on sensitive topics from young people, including methods for ensuring privacy and encouraging accurate reporting
- collecting different types of data from children and young people including physical measurements and cognitive assessments
- using different methods of data collection, including the use of innovative technology such as the web and mobile phones
- inclusivity in data collection methods, including facilitating the participation of children and young people with lower literacy levels
- assessing the reliability and validity of children and young people’s self-reports
- preventing non-response by engaging young people in research, including designing survey materials to appeal to young people and using new technology and digital media for 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 gaining informed consent and protecting young people’s rights and well-being

Keywords: Children, young people, surveys

Absence and Truancy in School Surveys

Dr Stéphane Legleye (INSEE ; Inserm) - Presenting Author
Mr Stanislas Spilka (OFDT ; Inserm)
Dr François Beck (INSEE ; Inserm)

Sociological research has proved that school absenteeism (truancy) and drug use are strongly linked. In school surveys, drug use of the absentees (including truants) are unknown and absenteeism cannot be modelled: truancy is thus a non-ignorable non-response, leading to the underestimation of drug use. We propose a correction based on the numbers of absents by class (truants and others) and on the report by the respondents of their numbers of past absences in the last 30 days by motive (truancy, illness, other). Absents are represented by respondents in proportion to their number of past absences. Data come from the 2015 French Espad survey (European survey project on alcohol and other drugs). Out of the 7169 pupils in the 284 classes selected, 6007 responded: 1162 were absent (16%), including 359 truants (31% of those absent). The correction is done by gender at three levels: class, stratum and on the entire sample, and by distinguishing or not truancy from legitimate absences. After calibration, the distinction between the types of absences is negligible; all corrections increased the national estimates of daily smoking (from 22.6% to 24.1%, that is 7%) and regular cannabis use (from 7.8% to 8.6%, that is 10%). Because of the clustered sampling design, no estimate fell outside the confidence intervals of the conventional (directly calibrated) estimates, but result suggest that the proportion of truants is an indicator to monitor.
Hypotheses and limits are discussed. The method is applicable in other surveys, as soon as the reasons for absence of the selected persons and the past absences of the respondents are collected (example in the transportation/travel surveys).

Collecting Cognitive and Biological Data from Children: Experiences from the Housing and Children’s Healthy Development Study

Dr Juan Carlos Donoso (Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan) - Presenting Author

The Housing & Children’s Healthy Development Study (H&C) is a longitudinal survey that seeks to understand how housing and the housing environment affects the behavioral, emotional, cognitive and health outcomes of low and moderate-income urban children from children from 3 to 10 years of age at the study’s inception. In addition to an interview with their primary caregiver, children were asked to complete a series of activities and provide biological samples. The activities included cognitive assessments (Hearts & Flowers and the Woodcock Johnson Assessment), a parental cognitive sensitivity coding activity and physical measurements (height, weight, waist, and hip). The biological samples were done by collecting dried blood spots (DBS) via a finger prick.

Participation in all measures was high during Wave 1. Overall, 86% of the children for whom their parents had provided DBS consent assented to the collection of biomarkers. Participation rates for the cognitive assessments and the parental cognitive sensitivity coding activity were higher than 95%.

This paper will present results of participation in the various activities as well as physical measures and biomarkers during Wave1 of the study and examine some of the correlates of participation in these components. The paper will include information on H&C protocols with regard to interviewer training, information provided to the children and the importance of these protocols for enhancing participation. This information will help other studies better understand and plan for factors related to the collection of cognitive assessment and biological data from children.

Evolution of Positive and Negative Affect During 5 Consecutive Years in a Sample of 10-16 Year-Old Children

Dr Ferran Casas (University of Girona) - Presenting Author
Dr Mònica González-Carrasco (University of Girona)

During 5 consecutive years, data from an overall sample of 1,696 children and adolescents has been collected starting with 10-year-olds. They responded from 2 to 5 times according to the year of data collection they started with. Six items on positive affect (energetic, satisfied, happy, fortunate, quiet and enthusiastic) and five on negative affect (stressed, sad, worried, tired and bored) have been used from the Russell Core Affect Scale.

Fit statistics for the factor structure of a model correlating a positive affect latent variable to a negative affect latent variable were very modest. However, a reduced modified model showed excellent fit statistics in a CFA. Paired-means, correlations and paired-mean differences of the positive and negative affect overall scores, according to the year of data collection, were analysed. Tendencies of the positive and negative affect according to the different cohorts (year of birth) were explored.

Results show that negative affect seems to display larger variation within a 5-year period rather than positive affect. The younger the children, the more extreme their overall mean scores both to positive and negative affect are. Extreme answering subjects at any year of the data collection generally tend to return to the mean overall scores in the following years, and they also usually come from mean scores in the previous years, this suggesting that a homeostatic regulation mechanism works intensively during childhood and adolescence.

Individuals with very high scores in positive affect tend to decrease their scores in the following years, while participants with very low scores tend to increase their scores in the following years and tend to display higher scores in the previous years. The same happens with negative affect. Positive and negative affect display different evolution patterns along time being their shape not the opposite.

Interviewer Effects in a Children’s Survey

Dr Christiane Bozoyan (LMU Munich) - Presenting Author
Dr Claudia Schmiedeberg (LMU Munich)
Dr Jette Schroeder (GESIS)

While interviewer effects in adult surveys are well documented, research on interviewer effects in child surveys is scarce. But interviewer effects may exist in child surveys as well for several reasons: Children may regard the interviewer as an authority and therefore try to tailor their responses in accordance with the interviewer. Further, young children may give incomprehensible or incongruous answers so that interviewers may probe or simply enter the response they assume suits best to the given response categories. In addition, interviewers could also differ in their ability to adapt their behavior to children’s needs such as probing or speed of reading. Finally, parents’ decision to be present during the child’s interview may depend on interviewer characteristics and behavior. Hence, interviewer effects on interview outcomes such as interview duration and socially desirable responses can be expected, in particular in case of young children.
To analyze interviewer effects in surveying children we apply multilevel models based on data from the German Family Panel (pairfam), a panel study of initially more than 12,000 randomly sampled individuals as well as their partners and 8-15 year old children (1,000-1,500 observations per wave). We investigate interviewer effects on interview duration and children’s responses to sensitive questions such as the strengths and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ). Preliminary results indicate that interviewer effects exist regarding both interview duration and children’s responses and that interviewer effects tend to be larger among younger children as compared to older children and adolescents.