Our primary objectives are 1) to extend the NLSY79 Young Adult (YA) data collection for youth age 21 and over through the 2012, 2014 and 2016 data collection rounds and 2) to enhance our prior YA data by including additional information from YA parents on the home environment and behavior of their children, asking more mental and physical health questions, and collecting saliva samples to provide DNA. These youth represent the oldest children born to NLSY79 female respondents. The ongoing grant has provided funds for interviews with youth age 21 and over in 2008/2010. With NICHD support, all NLSY79 children have received a variety of cognitive and socio-emotional assessments biennially since 1986. Young adults ages 15 and over were first interviewed in 1994 and were asked questions paralleling those asked of their mothers in their adolescent years. Interviews with the NLSY79 YAs ages 21 and over have been funded by a grant from NICHD since 2000, again including questions paralleling those asked of their mothers at the same ages. Linking the child data with a range of maternal, family and child attributes, behaviors and attitudes from the full NLSY79 life span has permitted researchers across multiple disciplines in the sciences and social sciences to carry out a range of programmatic and policy- relevant research. For many researchers, however, a critical issue concerns subsequent connections between the developmental trajectory in childhood and adolescence and subsequent adult success and well-being. Extending this data collection through 2016 will enable researchers and policy analysts to explore both within- and cross-generational research topics of core interest to the scientific community, focused on adults through their 20s and 30s, and into their 40s. The NLSY79 YA data set has other qualities relevant to public health. Data on health and environment have been collected on a contemporaneous and frequent basis, siblings and cousins are included, and blacks and Hispanics are overrepresented. Information has been collected on health from each child's mother through childhood and from each YA since. YA health information can be connected with maternal health behaviors during adolescence and adulthood, and with pre- and post-natal behaviors. It additionally offers the opportunity to begin sorting out cross-generational transferences of illnesses such as diabetes and asthma. Collecting DNA in 2012 will facilitate addressing gene-environment interactions as residential and family environment data have been collected every survey round. Our kinship structure will further enable groundbreaking research at the intersection of the biological and social sciences, and our large samples of blacks and Hispanics will allow for analyses to specifically consider racial/ethnic differences.

Public Health Relevance

To understand health outcomes, we need to understand the role of socio-economic, demographic and environmental factors on one hand, and clinical factors on the other. These data already contain large amounts of health related data and the effort here will supplement this by starting to collect biomarker data that will support the separation of confounding explanatory factors. This project will support the unification of these two research programs for the NLSY79 - one of the most heavily used intergenerational longitudinal surveys available to the research community.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Social Sciences and Population Studies Study Section (SSPS)
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Bures, Regina M
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Ohio State University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Colen, Cynthia G; Ramey, David M; Cooksey, Elizabeth C et al. (2018) Racial disparities in health among nonpoor African Americans and Hispanics: The role of acute and chronic discrimination. Soc Sci Med 199:167-180