Experiencing Life Events and Childhood Subjective Wellbeing: A Longitudinal Analysis of Growing Up in Scotland
Growing Up in Scotland (GUS) is a longitudinal study following the lives of young people. This report presents analysis of several data sweeps of Birth Cohort 1 (BC1) and looks at the impact of some key life events on measures of subjective wellbeing.
Introduction and Background
Growing Up in Scotland (GUS) is a longitudinal study following the lives of young people. from their early years and childhood, into adolescence and beyond. This report presents analysis of several data sweeps of Birth Cohort 1 (BC1) and looks at the impact of some key life events on measures of subjective wellbeing.
The report includes;
- A review of relevant background literature;
- An overview of the analytical methodology and created variables;
- The results from the modelling;
- Discussion and conclusion.
Life changes and significant life events have been linked to various negative long-term health and social consequences for children. It is widely acknowledged that growing up in contexts of socioeconomic disadvantage impact on children's health and wellbeing in complex ways, which can be exacerbated by the experience of stressful or negative life events. These findings highlight the need for whole family support to help families to meet their individual needs during or following a period of stressful or negative life events. We know from the literature that such life events include the following, all of which can be explored using data available in the Growing Up in Scotland (GUS) study:
1. Parental Separation
3. Accident or illness within the family
Growing Up in Scotland (GUS) is a large-scale longitudinal cohort study which tracks the lives of children and their families, beginning from when the cohort children were 10 months old. The study has collected data on three cohorts of children over the years; two birth cohorts and one child cohort. This project uses data from Birth Cohort 1 (BC1). BC1 consists of a nationally representative sample of 5,271 children born between June 2004 and May 2005. The data were first collected in 2005/06 when the children were 10 months old. GUS data are predominantly collected through bi-annual face-to-face interviews with children and their parents. GUS therefore has the ability to track actual changes over time as each sweep builds on the previous sweep. A large amount of data is available on each participant as the study is multidisciplinary and includes information on aspects of participants' family life, household circumstances, education experiences alongside other domains of their lives. For more information on the study design and methodology, please see the study website.
Throughout the report, we have used 'children' when referring to GUS participants and other research subjects between the ages of 6 and 14.
The analysis detailed in this report uses multinomial logistic regression modelling and sensitivity analysis across four sweeps of GUS data. The analysis aims to answer the following questions:
- Does experiencing parental separation between the ages of 7 and 15 have an observable impact on changes in the subjective wellbeing of children during this period?
- Does experiencing the death of a family member between the ages of 7 and 15 have an observable impact on changes in the subjective wellbeing of children during this period?
- Does the experience of an accident or illness within the family between the ages of 7 and 15 have an observable impact on changes in children's subjective wellbeing during this period?
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