Working papers

Here you can search our series of working papers, dating back to 1983. These papers use data from our four cohort studies and cover a wide range of topics, from social inequalities and mobility, to physical health, education and cognitive development. Other papers in the series seek to improve the practice of longitudinal research. At the present time, we are only able to accept papers if at least one author is a member of the CLS research team. Some of the working papers below will subsequently have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

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Changing trust in the UK government during the COVID-19 pandemic – CLS Working Paper 2024/2

This paper compares data from the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) and the 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS) to evaluate changing trust in the UK government over the course of the pandemic. Across both cohorts, prior attachment to the conservative party was linked to higher trust ratings in the government and their handling of the pandemic, while being a graduate was associated with a worse evaluation of the government’s handling of the pandemic. Sex, vaccine reluctance and country of residence were also found to impact trust ratings.

Author: Sam Parsons and Richard D Wiggins
Date published: 1 May 2024
Working papers

Examining sample representativeness and data quality in the linked Next Steps survey and Student Loans Company administrative data – CLS Working Paper 2024/1

Linked cohort and administrative data provide rich resources with wide ranging research possibilities, yet understanding representativeness and quality of linked data is important. Through examination of linked Next Steps age 25 survey data and Student Loans Company data, the linked sample was found to be reasonably representative of wider populations, and data quality was found to be high. However, those from ethnic minority or more disadvantaged backgrounds were slightly underrepresented in the linked sample, due to lower linkage consent rates.

Author: Charlotte Booth, Claire Crawford, Nasir Rajah, Richard Silverwood and Morag Henderson
Date published: 20 February 2024
Working papers

Mediation of the association of prenatal maternal smoking with time to natural menopause in daughters by birthweight-for gestational-age z-score and breastfeeding duration – CLS Working Paper 2023/4

Maternal smoking during pregnancy, lower birth weight, and shorter breastfeeding duration, have all been linked to the earlier onset of menopause in daughters. This study investigates the mediating effect of birthweight and breastfeeding duration on the relationship between maternal smoking during pregnancy and the time to natural menopause in daughters. The findings show that the consequences of smoking during pregnancy may partly be offset by foetal growth and longer breastfeeding duration to the extent that they mediate the risk of earlier menopause.

Author: Darina Peycheva, Leah Li, Mary Fewtrell, Richard Silverwood and Rebecca Hardy
Date published: 11 December 2023
Working papers

Economic activities of care leavers and children of care leavers: employment, education and training (EET) disadvantages over the life course – CLS Working Paper 2023/3

Relatively little is known about the long-term economic activities of care leavers and their attachment to the labour market, and even less about the education and employment outcomes of the children of care leavers. Using data from the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70), findings from this study show that cohort members who have experienced care, and the children of mothers who experienced care, acquired fewer qualifications and spent fewer months in employment, education or training (EET) over a 30-year period than their peers without care experience in their family.

Author: Sam Parsons and Ingrid Schoon
Date published: 28 November 2023
Working papers

The relationship between maternal care experience and early child development: Evidence from the UK – CLS Working Paper 2023/2

This paper examines the relationship between maternal out-of-home care (OHC) experience and her child’s early behavioural, emotional and cognitive development, drawing on data collected for the UK Millennium Cohort Study.

Author: Emla Fitzsimons, Sam Parsons and Ingrid Schoon
Date published: 9 May 2023
Working papers

Using linked Hospital Episode Statistics data to aid the handling of non-response and restore sample representativeness in the 1958 National Child Development Study – CLS Working Paper 2023/1

There is growing interest in whether linked administrative data have the potential to aid analyses subject to missing data in cohort studies. The authors used linked 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS) NHS Digital Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) for this research project.

Author: Nasir Rajah, Lisa Calderwood, Bianca L De Stavola, Katie Harron, George B Ploubidis and Richard J Silverwood
Date published: 14 February 2023
Working papers

Trust in government, trust in others and compliance with social distancing: findings from the CLS COVID-19 web survey across four National Longitudinal Studies during 2020-2021 – CLS Working Paper 2022/9

Author: Sam Parsons and Richard Wiggins
Date published: 20 October 2022

Only children and cognitive ability in childhood: a cross-cohort analysis over 50 years in the UK – CLS Working Paper 2022/8

Using data from four British birth cohorts, we investigate whether the association between being an only child and cognitive ability in childhood has changed over time. Findings show that only children have higher cognitive scores than children from larger families. However, the ‘only child advantage’ has weakened across cohorts as the composition of the only child group has become more associated with disadvantage. The results highlight diversity in only children whose characteristics are conditional on changes throughout time and society.

Author: Alice Goisis, Jenny Chanfreau, Vanessa Moulton and George B. Ploubidis
Date published: 26 September 2022
Working papers

Intergenerational transmission of educational disadvantage: Educational progression of children of care leavers compared to other children in a general population sample – CLS Working Paper 2022/7

There is persistent evidence showing that care-leavers tend to have lower educational outcomes than their peers. However, less is known on whether this educational disadvantage transfers to the second generation. Drawing on data collected from families living in England in the nationally representative UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), the findings suggest intergenerational transmission of educational disadvantage, but that once socioeconomic inequalities are accounted for, children of care-leavers perform comparably to their peers in their educational progression to GCSE level. Findings are discussed regarding implications for policy.

Author: Sam Parsons, Emla Fitzsimons, Ingrid Schoon
Date published: 6 September 2022

The forgotten fifth: Examining the early education trajectories of teenagers who fall below the expected standards in GCSE English language and maths examinations at age 16 – CLS Working Paper 2022/6

Successive Governments have failed to address an issue that continues to plague the British education system: many teenagers leave secondary school without the ‘expected standard’ of a grade 4 pass in GCSE English language and maths. We use the UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) to find that half of pupils who fail at age 16 were behind at age 5. Future attempts to improve standards in English and maths will likely only succeed if high quality support is provided during the pre-school and early years.

Author: Lee Elliot Major, Sam Parsons
Date published: 1 September 2022

Examining the quality and sample representativeness of linked survey and administrative data – CLS Working Paper 2022/5

Recent years have seen an increase in linkages between cohort and administrative data. It is important to evaluate the quality of such data linkages to discern the likely reliability of research using the linked data resource. In this paper we consider a recent linkage between the 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS), a cohort following the lives of an initial 17,415 people born in Great Britain in a single week of 1958, and Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) databases, which contain details of all admissions, accident and emergency attendances and outpatient appointments at NHS hospitals in England.

Author: Richard J Silverwood, Nasir Rajah, Lisa Calderwood, Bianca L De Stavola, Katie Harron and George B Ploubidis
Date published: 13 June 2022
Working papers

Special educational needs and disability: a lifetime of disadvantage in the labour market? – CLS Working Paper 2022/4

Disabled adults face substantial labour market disadvantage. There is, however, variation in employment and earnings by age and educational level. Since much disability occurs in later life, and labour market disadvantage can lead to disability as well as vice versa, we currently have limited understanding of how far disabled people’s current disadvantage represents the cumulative impact of disability. We also lack insight into how far policy changes have managed to reduce the gap for younger cohorts. These are the contributions of this paper. Using data from two British longitudinal studies we investigate economic outcomes in their mid-20s for those who were identified with a Special Education Need or disability (SEN(D)) when at secondary school in either the 1970s or 2000s.

Author: Sam Parsons and Lucinda Platt
Date published: 23 May 2022
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