Fragile Families and the Transition to Adulthood ? HD036916 Project Summary/Abstract The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Birth Cohort Study (FFCWS) is following a stratified, multistage, probability sample of nearly 5,000 children born in large US cities between 1998 and 2000. Interviews were conducted with mothers and fathers at birth and again when children were 1, 3, 5, 9, and 15 years old. Children were assessed/interviewed at ages 3, 5, 9, and 15. Saliva samples were collected from mothers at year 9 and children at both age 9 and 15. The original study design called for a large oversample of births to unmarried parents, making the data a valuable resource for studying racial and economic disparities in health and wellbeing. To date, more than 7,000 researchers have accessed the data, resulting in the publication of more than 720 journal articles, 40 books and book chapters, 100 dissertations, and 110 working papers. We seek funding to conduct another round of interviews with the FFCWS children at age 22.
Our specific aims are to: (1) Collect new data on the health and wellbeing of FFCWS young adults, including data on: 1) socio- economic status (education, employment, and income), 2) family formation (intimate relationships, childbearing), 3) health (self-reports of physical and mental health, health related biological markers), and 4) cognitive and non-cognitive skills (e.g., memory, verbal reasoning, social and emotional factors, pro- and anti-social behavior). Obtain permission to access respondents? health, education, employment, and other administrative records. (2) Collect new data on the social, economic, and physical environments of FFCWS young adults, including data on: 1) family relationships and social support, 2) local area contexts such as policy regimes, neighborhood environments, and labor market conditions, and 3) access to and participation in health care, higher education, housing, and other government programs including the criminal justice system. (3) Collect saliva samples from FFCWS young adults to be used to measure DNA methylation and telomere length (TL). To do this, we will contact approximately 4,600 young adults through a web-based survey around their 22nd birthdays. Young adults who do not initially complete the web-based survey will receive phone follow-up and be administered the interview via Computer-Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) technology. The year 15 primary caregiver (typically the mothers) will also be contacted for a short interview. Saliva samples will be collected from young adults by mail.

Public Health Relevance

Fragile Families and the Transition to Adulthood ? HD036916 Project Narrative This project will extend the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), a birth cohort study based on a national probability sample of approximately 4,900 children born in large US cities (populations of 200,000 or more) between 1998 and 2000, by collecting data on the transition to adulthood, around the time of their 22nd birthdays. This project will measure young adults? health, including health conditions, work limitations, mental health, and health care use, as well as behavioral health (such as nutrition, exercise, sleep, and substance use). We will survey young adults on their family formation (including romantic/sexual relationships, sexual activity and contraception, pregnancy intentions and outcomes). We will collect saliva samples for measurement of DNA methylation and telomere length (TL). Young adults? socio-economic status (education, employment and income) will also be measured. This data will allow us to examine how health, cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes in infancy, childhood, and adolescence are associated with outcomes and behaviors in young adulthood. We expect the year 22 survey will bring about new insights and innovative research on health and disease across the lifespan, gene-environment interactions, and the social origins of growing inequality.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Social Sciences and Population Studies B Study Section (SSPB)
Program Officer
Bures, Regina M
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Princeton University
Other Specialized Schools
United States
Zip Code
James, Sarah; Donnelly, Louis; Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne et al. (2018) Links Between Childhood Exposure to Violent Contexts and Risky Adolescent Health Behaviors. J Adolesc Health 63:94-101
Assari, Shervin; Caldwell, Cleopatra Howard; Mincy, Ronald B (2018) Maternal Educational Attainment at Birth Promotes Future Self-Rated Health of White but Not Black Youth: A 15-Year Cohort of a National Sample. J Clin Med 7:
Kuckertz, Jennie M; Mitchell, Colter; Wiggins, Jillian Lee (2018) Parenting mediates the impact of maternal depression on child internalizing symptoms. Depress Anxiety 35:89-97
Lundberg, Ian; Donnelly, Louis (2018) A Research Note on the Prevalence of Housing Eviction Among Children Born in U.S. Cities. Demography :
Ellerbe, Calvina Z; Jones, Jerrett B; Carlson, Marcia J (2018) Race/Ethnic Differences in Nonresident Fathers' Involvement after a Nonmarital Birth. Soc Sci Q 99:1158-1182
Assari, Shervin; Jeremiah, Rohan D (2018) Intimate Partner Violence May Be One Mechanism by Which Male Partner Socioeconomic Status and Substance Use Affect Female Partner Health. Front Psychiatry 9:160
Geller, Amanda; Curtis, Marah A (2018) A Longitudinal Examination of Housing Hardships Among Urban Fathers. J Marriage Fam 80:1176-1186
Pilkauskas, Natasha V; Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne; Waldfogel, Jane (2018) Maternal employment stability in early childhood: Links with child behavior and cognitive skills. Dev Psychol 54:410-427
Williams, Deadric T (2018) Parental Depression and Cooperative Coparenting: A Longitudinal and Dyadic Approach. Fam Relat 67:253-269
Pragg, Brianne; Knoester, Chris (2017) Parental Leave Use among Disadvantaged Fathers. J Fam Issues 38:1157-1185

Showing the most recent 10 out of 199 publications