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.

For more information about our working papers series, please email us at clsworkingpapers@ucl.ac.uk.

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Working papers

Diet – Opportunities for Data Collection – CLS working paper 2021/4

The aim of this report is to identify opportunities for future data collection in the CLS cohorts to be enhanced by novel methods and linkages, specifically those relating to diet and expenditure. Such novel data collection may come from new tools and technologies (i.e wearables and smartphones), or through new data linkages (i.e consumer data or social media).

Author: Charis Bridger Staatz and David Bann
Date published: 26 March 2021
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Working papers

Measuring physical activity and cardiovascular health in population-based cohort studies – CLS working paper 2021/3

Implicating physical activity in biomedical and health research relies upon accurate measurement. Ultimately, a tool for assessing physical activity should be versatile, easy to interpret, and accurate in estimating intensity, volume, duration, and frequency of activity (Ainsworth et al., 2015). We conducted a non-systematic rapid review of the literature in this area to identify existing and novel methods of measuring physical activity in large-scale studies. The following sections will outline some commonly used methods for measuring physical activity in population-based cohort studies (e.g. accelerometers), along with some more novel approaches (e.g. combined monitors).

Author: Aaron Kandola and David Bann
Date published: 26 March 2021
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Working papers

Opportunities for data collection and linkage: mental health – CLS working paper 2021/2

This report aims to investigate the opportunity and feasibility of the use of technologies to measure mental health in Centre of Longitudinal Studies (CLS) cohorts, and the opportunity and feasibility of linking CLS cohorts to nationally held records on mental health service use.

Author: Jessica Rees and Praveetha Patalay
Date published: 26 March 2021
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Working papers

Having a sibling is like a treasure? Care for ageing parents by adult children with and without siblings – CLS working paper 2021/1

While adult children with siblings can share caring for older parents, adult only children face this responsibility alone. Yet, despite the extensive literature on informal caregiving more generally, research on only children’s parent-care is limited. Given increased longevity and reliance on informal caregiving, as well as an increase in one-child families, there is a need to further investigate only children’s caregiving.  This paper investigates whether and how adult only children’s parent-care differs from those with siblings, how sibling composition intersects with gender and how it relates to wellbeing. Using data from three large scale British birth cohorts we analyse parent-care at different ages: 38 and 42 (born 1970), 50 and 55 (born 1958), and 63 (born 1946). Results show that only children are more likely to provide parent-care, with differences greater at later ages. Provision is gendered, and the sibling group composition matters for involvement. While caring is related to wellbeing, we found no evidence that this differs between only children and those with siblings.

Author: Jenny Chanfreau and Alice Goisis
Date published: 8 March 2021
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Working papers

The impact of using the web in a mixed mode follow-up of a longitudinal birth cohort study: Evidence from the National Child Development Study – CLS working paper 2020/9

A sequential mixed mode data collection, online-to-telephone, was introduced into the National Child Development Study for the first time at the study’s age 55 sweep in 2013. The study included a small experiment, whereby a randomised subset of study members was allocated to a single mode, telephone-only interview, in order to test for the presence of mode effects on participation and measurement. Relative to telephone-only, the offer of the web increased overall participation rates by 5.0 percentage points (82.8% vs. 77.8%, 95% confidence interval 2.7% to 7.3%). Differences attributable to mode of interview were detected in levels of item non-response and response values for a limited number of questions.

Author: Alissa Goodman, Matt Brown, Richard J. Silverwood, Joseph W. Sakshaug, Lisa Calderwood, Joel Williams and George B. Ploubidis
Date published: 19 October 2020
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Working papers

Does private schooling make you right-wing? An investigation using the 1970 British Cohort Study – CLS working paper 2020/8

This paper addresses the question of whether attending a private school (both at primary and secondary stages) affects voting behaviour and political attitudes in adulthood. The analysis is based upon the British Cohort Study, a nationally representative cohort of children born in one week in April 1970 at age 42 years.

Author: Richard D. Wiggins, Samantha Parsons, Francis Green, George Ploubidis and Alice Sullivan
Date published: 16 October 2020
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Working papers

Collection of DNA samples and genetic data at scale in the UK Millennium Cohort Study – CLS working paper 2020/7

This paper describes the collection of saliva samples from cohort members and their biological parents in the Millennium Cohort Study. It analyses response rates, predictors of response, and details the DNA extraction, genotyping and imputation procedures performed on the data.

Author: Emla Fitzsimons, Vanessa Moulton, David A Hughes, Sam Neaves, Karen Ho, Gibran Hemani, Nicholas Timpson, Lisa Calderwood, Emily Gilbert, Susan Ring
Date published: 26 August 2020
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Working papers

Improving the plausibility of the missing at random assumption in the 1958 British birth cohort: A pragmatic data driven approach – CLS working paper 2020/6

This paper presents a systematic data-driven approach to identify predictors of non-response at each sweep of the 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS) and demonstrates that including such variables in analyses with principled methods can reduce bias due to missing data.

Author: T. Mostafa, M. Narayanan, B. Pongiglione, B. Dodgeon, A. Goodman, R.J. Silverwood and G.B. Ploubidis
Date published: 27 April 2020
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Working papers

A data driven approach to understanding and handling non-response in the Next Steps cohort – CLS working paper 2020/5

This paper presents a systematic data-driven approach to identify predictors of non-response at wave 8 (age 25-26 years) in Next Steps and demonstrates that including such variables in analyses with principled methods can reduce bias due to missing data.

Author: Richard J. Silverwood, Lisa Calderwood, Joseph W Sakshaug and George B. Ploubidis
Date published: 27 April 2020
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Working papers

New birth cohort study: theoretical sampling design options – CLS working paper 2020/4

This report sets out the rationale and sampling design options for a new UK birth cohort study, incorporating an accelerated longitudinal design.

Author: Alice Sullivan, Heather Joshi and James Williams
Date published: 27 April 2020
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Working papers

Mixing modes in longitudinal surveys: an overview – CLS working paper 2020/3

This report gives an overview of the most relevant literature and evidence on the use mixed-mode involving web in longitudinal surveys.

Author: Matt Brown and Lisa Calderwood
Date published: 27 April 2020
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Working papers

New technologies and innovative methods in data collection – CLS working paper 2020/2

This report looks at what major longitudinal studies have already done in terms of collecting data using new technologies and innovative methods, and explores the methodological challenges surrounding innovative data collection.

Author: Emily Gilbert
Date published: 27 April 2020
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