UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

National Child Development Study: Biomedical Data, 2002-2004: Special Licence Access

Title details

SN: 5594
Title: National Child Development Study: Biomedical Data, 2002-2004: Special Licence Access
Alternative title: NCDS
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-5594-2
Series: National Child Development Study [National Child Development Study: Special Licence Access]
Depositor: University of London. Institute of Education. Centre for Longitudinal Studies
Principal investigator(s): University of London. Institute of Education. Centre for Longitudinal Studies
Sponsor(s): Medical Research Council
Other acknowledgements: The Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) would like to thank the National Child Development Study (NCDS) cohort members, without whom the biomedical survey would not have been possible. Their continuing participation and goodwill is
greatly appreciated by everyone connected with the survey.

We would also like to acknowledge the contribution of the following to the
success of the biomedical survey:
  • principal investigators (with Professor Christine Power and Professor David Strachan): Professor John Bynner, late of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, and Gillian Prior, late of the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen)
  • survey development team: Peter Shepherd (CLS), Elizabeth Fuller (NatCen)
  • collaborators: Professor Adrian Davis, Medical Research Council (MRC) Hearing and Communication Group, University of Manchester; Dr Meena Kumari, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College, London; Professor Gary Macfarlane, Department of Public Health, University of Aberdeen Dr Jugnoo Rahi, Centre for Paediatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Child Health, London; Dr Bryan Rodgers, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, the Australian National University, Canberra; Professor Stephen Stansfeld, Centre for Psychiatry, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, London
  • the survey doctor, Dr Melanie d'Souza
  • at CLS: Kevin Dodwell and members of the CLS tracing team
  • at NatCen: Nafiis Boodhumeah and other programmers; Sandra Laver and the Pink team in the Operations Department; Christine Massett and the Telephone Unit interviewers; Richard Boreham and Carli Lessof; NatCen's nurses, who contributed to the survey's development and were responsible for collecting the data
  • Florence Bunting, Dahlia Cowan and Alan Gibbons at St George's Hospital Medical School
  • Susan Ring, Wendy McArdle, Patricia Bevan and Fay Stratton at the Avon Longitudinal Study (ALSPAC) laboratory, Bristol
  • Professor Ian Gibb, Gavin Spickett and other staff of the clinical biochemistry laboratory at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle
  • Gordon Lowe and Ann Rumley at the Royal Glasgow Infirmary
  • Professor Clemens Kirschbaum, Biological Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Dresden


The citation for this study is:

University of London. Institute of Education. Centre for Longitudinal Studies. (2009). National Child Development Study: Biomedical Data, 2002-2004: Special Licence Access. [data collection]. UK Data Service. SN: 5594,

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Subject Categories

General - Health
Health services and medical care - Health
Mental health - Health


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

The National Child Development Study (NCDS) is a continuing longitudinal study that seeks to follow the lives of all those living in Great Britain who were born in one particular week in 1958. The aim of the study is to improve understanding of the factors affecting human development over the whole lifespan.

The NCDS has its origins in the Perinatal Mortality Survey (PMS) (the original PMS study is held at the UK Data Archive (UKDA) under SN 2137). This study was sponsored by the National Birthday Trust Fund and designed to examine the social and obstetric factors associated with stillbirth and death in early infancy among the 17,000 children born in England, Scotland and Wales in that one week. Selected data from the PMS form NCDS sweep 0, held alongside NCDS sweeps 1-3, under SN 5565.

To date there have been seven attempts to trace all members of the birth cohort in order to monitor their physical, educational and social development. The first three sweeps were carried out by the National Children's Bureau, in 1965, when respondents were aged 7, in 1969, aged 11, in 1974, aged 16 (these sweeps form NCDS1-3, held together with NCDS0 under SN 5565). The fourth sweep, NCDS4, was conducted in 1981, when respondents were aged 23 (held under SN 5566). In 1985 the NCDS moved to the Social Statistics Research Unit (SSRU) - now known as the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) - and the fifth sweep was carried out in 1991, when respondents were aged 33, (NCDS5, held under SN 5567). For the sixth wave, conducted in 1999-2000, when respondents were aged 41-42 (NCDS6, held under SN 5578), fieldwork was combined with the 1999-2000 wave of the 1970 Birth Cohort Study (BCS70), which is also conducted by CLS (and held at the UKDA under GN 33229).

Response datasets:
Two separate datasets covering response to NCDS over all nine waves are available. National Child Development Deaths Dataset, 1958-2014: Special Licence Access (SN 7717) covers deaths and National Child Development Study Response Dataset, 1958-2005 (SN 5560) covers all other responses and outcomes. Users are advised to order these studies alongside the other waves of NCDS.

Additional studies:
In addition to the main NCDS sweeps, some further studies have also been conducted. In 1978, a postal survey was conducted of the schools attended by members of the birth cohort at the time of the third follow-up of 1974, in order to obtain details of public examination entry and performance. Similar details were also sought from sixth-form and further education colleges etc., where these were identified by schools. Also, a 37-year sample survey of the NCDS cohort, focusing on basic skills, is held under SN 4992.

The UKDA also holds a number of NCDS-related files (for example, of data collected in the course of a special study of handicapped school-leavers, at age 18 (held under SN 2024) and the data from a 5% feasibility study, conducted at age 20 (held under SN 2025), which preceded NCDS4. A parent migration dataset, based on NCDS5, is held under SN 4324, and a study detailing partnership histories, compiled from NCDS sweeps 5 and 6, is held under SN 5217.

Further information about the full NCDS series can be found on the Centre for Longitudinal Studies website.

How to access genetic and/or bio-medical sample data from a range of longitudinal surveys:
A useful overview of the governance routes for applying for genetic and bio-medical sample data, which are not available through the UK Data Service, can be found at Governance of data and sample access on the METADAC (Managing Ethico-social, Technical and Administrative issues in Data Access) website.

The NCDS biomedical survey was funded under the MRC 'Health of the Public' initiative, and was carried out in collaboration with the Institute of Child Health, St George's Hospital Medical School, and NatCen. The survey was designed to obtain objective measures of ill-health and biomedical risk factors in order to address a wide range of specific hypotheses relating to anthropometry: cardiovascular, respiratory and allergic diseases; visual and hearing impairment; and mental ill-health.

Users interested in the medication data, including BNF codes, should note that these variables are not currently part of this dataset. Potential users should instead contact the Centre for Longitudinal Studies ( ).

Main Topics:
Biomedical data were gathered from a number of biomedical measurements administered by nurses, including: near, distance and stereo vision; hearing; lung function; blood pressure and pulse, height and weight; and waist and hip circumference. A short mental health interview was also administered, and samples of blood and saliva were taken.

Coverage, universe, methodology

Dates of fieldwork: September 2002 - March 2004
Country: England
Spatial units: Government Office Regions
Observation units: Individuals
Kind of data: Numeric data
Individual (micro) level
Universe: National
All NCDS cohort members who had responded to sweeps 4, 5 or 6. For further details of the NCDS sample, see documentation.
Time dimensions: Longitudinal/panel/cohort
Sampling procedures: No sampling (total universe)
Method of data collection: Face-to-face interview; Self-completion; Psychological measurements; Clinical measurements; Physical measurements
Weighting: No weighting used.

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Administrative and access information

Date of release:
First edition: 20 January 2009
Copyright: Centre for Longitudinal Studies
Access conditions: The depositor has specified that registration is required and standard conditions of use apply. The depositor may be informed about usage.
Additional special conditions of use also apply. See terms and conditions of access for further information. In addition, the UK Data Service is required to request permission from the depositor prior to supplying the data.

Please note:
Since these data pose a higher risk of disclosure than data made available under the standard End User Licence they have additional special conditions attached to them that take the form of a Special Licence (SL). The SL requires the completion of an additional application form, agreement to the conditions of the SL, the signature(s) of the researcher(s), and the explicit permission of the data owners to release the data to the researcher(s). This is to ensure that the guarantee of confidentiality given to survey respondents is protected. SL applications are screened by the UK Data Service and the data owners and data are only released to those researchers requiring data for statistical research purposes and who can justify their need for the SL data.

Researchers are required to keep the data under conditions of greater security than required under the standard End User Licence. The guide, Microdata handling and security: guide to good practice, explains how to meet these conditions.
Availability: UK Data Service
Contact: Get in touch


Title File Name Size (KB)
CLS Confidentiality and Data Security Review cls_confidentiality_and_data_security_review.pdf 49
User Guide guide_to_the_ncds_biomedical_dataset.pdf 257
Questionnaire ncds_biomedical_capi_questionnaire.pdf 1521
Study information and citation UKDA_Study_5594_Information.htm 6
READ File read5594.htm 10


View publications... Hide publications...

By principal investigator(s):
A searchable bibliography may be found on the Centre for Longitudinal Studies web site.

Resulting from secondary analysis:
Feinstein, L., Lupton, R., Hammond, C., Mujtaba, T., Salter, E., and Sorhaindo, A. (2008) The public value of social housing: a longitudinal analysis of the relationship between housing and life chances, London: The Smith Institute.

Lupton, R., Tunstall, R., Sigle-Rushton, W., Obolenskaya, P., Sabates, R., Meschi, E., Kneale, D., and Salter, E. (2009) Growing up in social housing in Britain: a profile of four generations from 1946 to the present day, London: The Tenant Services Authority.

Taulbut, M. and Walsh, D. (2013) Poverty, parenting and poor health: comparing early years' experiences in Scotland, England and three city regions, Glasgow Centre for Population Health, February. Retrieved August 2, 2013 from


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