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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Working papers

Multiple risk factors in young children’s development- CLS working paper 2012/1

This CLS working paper quantifies the prevalence of multiple risks for families with very young children in the UK, and their prevalence by ethnic groups. It also examines the associations of multiple risks to deficits in developmental outcomes at three and five years of age using data from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS).

Key words: Multiple risks, child development, Millennium Cohort Study, UK

Author: Ricardo Sabates and Shirley Dex
Date published: 1 February 2012
Working papers

The design and content of the HALCyon qualitative study- CLS working paper 2011/5

This paper provides an overview of the design of a qualitative sub-study of members of the 1946 MRC National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD), and members of the Hertfordshire Cohort Study (HCS). Interviews were carried out in 2010 as part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) collaborative research programme.

This descriptive methodological paper focuses on the content of the interview topic guide, the sampling strategy and on the characteristics of the sample that was achieved in comparison with the overall survey population.

Author: Jane Elliott, Catharine Gale, Diana Kuh, Sam Parsons
Date published: 1 October 2011
Working papers

An ethical review of the use of functional MRI and DNA analysis in birth cohort studies- CLS working paper 2011/4

This CLS working paper provides a detailed ethical review of the use of functional MRI and DNA analysis in birth cohort studies with reference to the 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS) Age 45 biomedical sweep, conducted in 2002.

Author: Martin Richards
Date published: 1 August 2011
Working papers

Unequal entry to motherhood and unequal outcomes for children- CLS working paper 2011/3

The age of mothers when they give birth to their first child is increasingly socially polarised in the UK. Early motherhood typically occurs among women from disadvantaged backgrounds, in contrast to women with later first births, who are more likely to come from advantaged backgrounds. This CLS working paper compares their children’s development, in terms of cognition and behaviour at age five, using the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS).

Author: Denise Hawkes, Heather Joshi
Date published: 1 July 2011
Working papers

Part-time working and pay amongst Millennium Cohort Study mothers- CLS working paper 2011/2

Jenny Neuberger, Heather Joshi and Shirley Dex use data from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) to explore the pay penalty to motherhood in Britain.

Key words:  Millennium Cohort Study, part-time work, motherhood, child care.

Author: Jenny Neuberger, Heather Joshi and Shirley Dex
Date published: 10 February 2011
Working papers

Does how you measure income make a difference to measuring poverty?- CLS working paper 2011/1

This CLS working paper examines differences in how income is collected in a nationally representative birth cohort, the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). It looks at variations by questions asked and by respondent characteristics before then examining the implications different methods of collecting and reporting income may have for measuring poverty.

Key words: Income, survey data collection, poverty

Author: Kirstine Hansen, Dylan Kneale
Date published: 1 January 2011
Working papers

Investigating individual differences in memory and cognition in the National Child Development Study cohort members using a life course approach- CLS working paper 2010/10

Helen Knight, Matt Brown, Brian Dodgeon, Barbara Maughan, Martin Richards, Jane Elliott, Barbara Sahakian and Trevor Robbins explore theories within cognitive epidemiology which suggest that environmental and lifestyle factors may have a positive or negative effect on cognitive ability at different stages in life.  A neurobiological explanation for this is known as the cognitive reserve hypothesis.

This hypothesis is explored through analysis of cognitive test results at age 50 on NCDS cohort members, using a lifecourse approach taking into account childhood predictors and health behaviours.

Keywords: NCDS, cognition, cognitive reserve, lifecourse, lifestyle, health behaviours.

Author: Helen Knight, Matt Brown, Brian Dodgeon, Barbara Maughan, Martin Richards, Jane Elliott, Barbara Sahakian and Trevor Robbins
Date published: 16 December 2010
Working papers

Experimental testing of refusal conversion strategies in a large-scale longitudinal study- CLS working paper 2010/9

Lisa Calderwood, Ian Plewis, Sosthenes Ketende and Rebecca Taylor evaluate the effectiveness of fieldwork strategies to covert refusals using evidence from a randomised experiment implemented on the UK Millennium Cohort Study.  The authors show that intensive re-issuing is an effective way of increasing the proportion of refusals converted to a productive interview and hence increasing the sample size and reducing the refusal rate. It is also shown that refusal conversion may have led to a reduction in non-response bias in the survey estimates for several key variables.

Keywords: non-response: fieldwork intervention: cohort study: treatment effects: Millennium Cohort Study.

Author: Lisa Calderwood, Ian Plewis, Sosthenes C. Ketende and Rebecca Taylor
Date published: 7 December 2010
Working papers

Attitudes towards participating in fMRI studies amongst participants in a birth cohort study- CLS working paper 2010/8

Matt Brown and Helen Knight explain the results of an exercise where a sub-sample of National Child Development Study members were invited to participate in a pilot study to investigate the potential of conducting neuropsychological assessments with purposive subsamples of the British Birth Cohort Studies. On completion of the assessments participants completed a short questionnaire which included a number of questions gathering views about participating in research studies involving Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanning.  The project ran from July 2009 to September 2010.

When planning the pilot study consideration was given to the inclusion of functional MRI scanning for a subset of participants, but in the end this was not feasible. The network did, however, provide an opportunity to discuss the ethical challenges associated with conducting this kind of research and one of the outputs is a full ethical review of the issues raised by the use of MRI scanning (and DNA analysis) in birth cohort studies.

Keywords: NCDS, 1958 cohort, MRI, consent, research ethics.

Author: Matt Brown and Helen M. Knight
Date published: 3 November 2010
Working papers

Keeping in touch with mobile families in the UK Millennium Cohort Study- CLS working paper 2010/7

Lisa Calderwood focuses on the problem of locating mobile families in the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) and examines what proportion of families who move between waves are successfully located through the study’s tracking procedures. She also examines the effectiveness of techniques designed to pick up address changes prior to the start of fieldwork for a particular wave compared with interviewer tracking in the field and investigates some of the factors associated with success or failure to locate mobile families. The paper shows that over 90% of mobile families were successfully located between wave 2 and wave 3 of the study with 55% located before the start of fieldwork for second wave. Although some differences are found in the observable demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of mobile and non-mobile families, very few of these characteristics are associated with the success or failure to locate families.

Keywords: MCS, Millennium cohort, attrition bias, non-response, tracking.

Author: Lisa Calderwood
Date published: 2 November 2010
Working papers

Nonresponse Weight Adjustments Using Multiple Imputation for the UK Millennium Cohort Study- CLS working paper 2010/6

John McDonald and Sosthenes Ketende discuss nonresponse weight adjustments for sweep 3 of the UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). Weight adjustments are available for monotone patterns of nonresponse, where the nonresponse weight is the inverse of the estimated probability of response based on a logistic regression model, which uses data from previous sweeps to predict response at the current sweep. For non-monotone patterns, some cases have missing data for previous sweeps and this approach cannot be easily applied. For MCS, 7.5% of the families took part in sweeps 1 and 3, but not sweep 2, i.e., a non-monotonic pattern of nonresponse for 1,444 families.

The authors’ approach to estimate a nonresponse weight for MCS sweep 3 was to use multiple imputation to impute the required missing values at sweep 2 for these 1,444 families for the logistic model for response at sweep 3. This imputation used information from sweeps 1 and 3 and only involved imputing the missing values for time-varying variables shown to be predictive of nonresponse in MCS. This resulted in the multiple imputation of nonresponse weights at sweep 3, which can be averaged to produce a single nonresponse weight or the 10 imputed nonresponse weights can used for separate analyses and the results combined using Rubin’s rules. The advantages and disadvantages of both approaches are  discussed.

Keywords: MCS, Millennium cohort, attrition bias, non-response.

Author: John McDonald and Sosthenes Ketende
Date published: 1 November 2010
Working papers

Understanding Participation: Being part of the 1958 National Child Development Study from birth to age 50- CLS working paper 2010/5

Samantha Parsons looks at the reasons why respondents have remained, or not, in the NCDS study and what strategies help improve retention. The paper presents findings from qualitative interviews with 170 men and women who have participated in the longitudinal 1958 National Child Development Study for half a century.

Keywords: NCDS, 1958 cohort, attrition bias, non-response, sub-study, qualitative.

Author: Samantha Parsons
Date published: 7 October 2010
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