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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. Conducted by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS), the aim of the study is to improve understanding of the factors affecting human development over the whole lifespan. It collects information on physical and educational development, economic circumstances, employment, family life, health behaviour, wellbeing, social participation and attitudes.
GN 33004 | National Child Development Study, 1958-
GN 33395 | National Child Development Study: Special Licence Access
GN 33497 | National Child Development Study, 1999-: Secure Access
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The National Child Development Study (NCDS) is a continuing longitudinal survey which follows the lives of 17,000 people born in a 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 gathered data from respondents on child development from birth to early adolescence, child care, medical care, health, physical statistics, school readiness, home environment, educational progress, parental involvement, cognitive and social growth, family relationships, economic activity, income, and training and housing.
To date there have been nine further waves of data collection since the respondents were born in 1958. These attempt to trace all members of the birth cohort in order to monitor their physical, educational and social development. The survey sweeps were carried out in 1965 (when members were aged 7 years), in 1969 (age 11), in 1974 (age 16), in 1981 (age 23), in 1991 (age 33), 1999-2000 (age 41-42), 2004-2005 (age 46-47), 2008-2009 (age 50) and 2013-2014 (age 55). The next survey of the NCDS cohort will be at age 60 in 2018.
The questionnaires used for each NCDS sweep do not include a large number of repeated questions. This is because the NCDS is a cohort study rather than a panel study and focuses on the progress of the cohort members (CMs) over their whole lifecourse. For each sweep, the information collected is relevant to the development of the cohort at that time point - the information collected when the CMs are seven-years old is therefore different to that collected when the CMs are aged 33. Some questions are repeated, however. These generally relate to the CM's physical attributes, health status, employment status, family relationships, housing and education.
The data collections for sweep 5 contain employment histories in which occupations are coded according to various standard schemas, including SOC, KOS, CODOT, Goldthorpe social class and Registrar General's social class. There are also standard educational assessment scores such as the Southgate Group Reading Score and the Bristol Social Adjustment Guide included in the data files for sweeps 1 to 3. Data for a number of standard health indicators have also been collected over the course of the NCDS, among them Rutter et al's Malaise Inventory and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ).
The End User Licence data collections have spatial identifiers at Government Office Region. There is a Special Licence data collection under SN 5744 which has a Local Authority data for the period 1958-1974.
A list of articles and reports based on analyses of the NCDS can be found on the web pages of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies.