February research news highlights

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Selected highlights of journal papers and other research published in February 2018 using data from CLOSER’s eight longitudinal and cohort studies.

 

Mother’s personality associated with children’s education performance

New research, published in The Economic Journal, has used data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) to investigate the association between mother’s personality and their children’s educational attainment. The research team, led by Warn Lekfuanfu, of the London School of Economics and Political Science, used data collected from pregnant mothers to assess the extent to which the mothers believed they had control of events in their lives. The researchers linked information taken from mothers with their children’s GCSE exam results taken at age 16. The team found that babies born to mothers who held a stronger belief that their fate is in their own hands tended to perform better in their GCSE exams. Read more.

 

Exploring the early-life predictors of multi-morbidity

A team of researchers, led by Jenny Humphreys of the University of Manchester, has used data from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study to determine early-life predictors of multi-morbidity. The term, multi-morbidity refers to when an individual suffers from more than one long-term medical condition. Published in Age and Ageing, the project used information about participants’ weight at age one, and method of infant feeding and childhood illnesses up to the age of five. The researchers then examined data on participants’ health between ages 68-76, including whether or not they suffered from conditions such as hypertension, multiple sclerosis and diabetes. The team found that people who experienced childhood illnesses were more likely to develop multi-morbidity, and tended to require more medication later in life. Read more.

 

Can childhood factors influence resting heart rate?

Research published in US journal, Jama Pediatrics has used data from the 1946 National Survey of Health and Development to explore whether childhood circumstances are linked to how resting heart rate (RHR) changes across the life course. RHR is recorded as the number of heart beats per minute when an individual is sat or lying down. Led by Celia O’Hare of University College London, the researchers looked at early-life factors, such as birth weight, BMI and childhood socioeconomic position. They also considered participants’ RHR, which was collected on eight occasions between the ages of 6 and 69. The study found that higher birth weight and better childhood growth were associated with lower RHR across the life course. Read more.

 

British adults with intellectual impairments more likely to experience job insecurity

Research using eight sweeps of the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) has investigated the relationship between employment conditions and health among adults with intellectual impairments. The paper, published in SSM- Population Health, was a collaboration between a team of researchers based at Lancaster University and the University of Sydney. They found that, on average, adults with intellectual impairments were more likely than their peers to be exposed to non-standard employment conditions and experience job insecurity. Read more.

 

Childhood socioeconomic position doesn’t predetermine health-related behaviours in adulthood

Research published in Preventative Medicine has looked at the relationship between childhood socioeconomic position and adult health-related behaviours (smoking, alcohol, diet and physical activity). The paper, authored by a team of researchers from University College London (UCL), used data from the National Child Development Study (NCDS) at ages 11 and 33, and BCS70 at ages 10 and 34. They found that lower socioeconomic status in childhood strongly predicted disadvantaged social circumstances in adulthood. Although poorer adults were more likely to indulge in risky health-related behaviours, children who were able to overcome their social circumstances by adulthood were no more likely to have these habits. These results were consistent across both the 1958 and 1970 cohorts. Read more.

 

Lack of conscientiousness predicts smoking status at age 54 

A new paper published in Personality and Individual Differences, has examined the association between childhood intelligence, personality traits, parental social class, maternal smoking, educational qualifications, and smoking status. The researchers, Adrian Furnham and Helen Cheng, based at UCL, analysed NCDS data collected at birth, and at ages 11, 33, 50 and 54 . They found that lower social class, fewer educational qualifications and lack of conscientiousness were strong predictors of tobacco use at age 54. The study revealed that there was a decrease in tobacco use from age 50 to age 54 (17.9% to 15%), and that, on average, females tended to smoke fewer cigarettes per day than males. Read more.

 

New recommendations for surveying contemporary fathers in the UK

A new report published by the Fatherhood Institute has collated information from 16 cohort studies to examine how they collect data about fathers in varied forms of co-residence and relationships with their dependent and adult children. The report, authored by Rebecca Goldman and Adrienne Burgess, included data from NCDS, BCS70, Next Steps and the Millennium Cohort Study. The paper gives several recommendations on how future cross-sectional and longitudinal study sweeps should address their questions to fathers. These recommendations included tracking fathers into new households if they become non-resident, for example as a result of relationship separation.  Read more.

 

Care leavers’ prospects in early adulthood

A new study from a team of researchers, based in the UK, Germany and Finland, has examined the long term life prospects for care leavers in these three countries. The paper, published in the Children and Youth Services Review, used data from Next Steps and BCS70. The findings revealed that, in all countries, care leavers tended to do less well than their peers at school and in the job market. The results suggest that governments need to work to adequately provide for the needs of care leavers after the age of 18. Read more.