Research That Matters (January 17 - 20, 2008)

Saturday, January 19, 2008: 2:00 PM-3:45 PM
Blue Prefunction (Omni Shoreham)
[ADOL] Intergenerational Research Using the Nlsy79-C
Symposium Organizer:Jennifer L. Romich, PhD, University of Washington
Discussant (Optional):Alison Aughinbaugh, PhD, Bureau of Labor Statistics
The 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and Child Supplement: Overview and Access
Steve McClaskie
Nonstandard Work Schedules and Child Behavioral Outcomes
Wen-Jui Han, PhD
Family Structure Transitions and Children's Wellbeing during Middle Childhood
Lawrence M. Berger, PhD, Katherine A. Magnuson, PhD
Independence Giving or Autonomy Taking? Childhood Predictors of Decision-Sharing Patterns between Parents and Young Aolescents
Jennifer L. Romich, PhD, Shelly Lundberg, PhD, Kwok Ping Tsang, PhD
Abstract Text:
This symposium highlights new research from an important data source, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 cohort (NLSY79) and Child Supplement (NLSY79-C). The NLSY79 began with a nationally representative sample of men and women who were age 14 to 21 in 1979. Beginning in 1986, data have been gathered about the children of the women in the 1979 cohort and these data are known as the NLSY79 Child Data, or NLSY-C. Interviews take place every two years and include parent reports on children's environments and well-being, common developmental measurements of children, and young adolescent self-reports.

This symposium includes an introduction to the data and three high quality empirical studies that make use of its intergenerational features. The first presenter, a user services professional from the NLSY survey center, will briefly overview the NLSY79 data, including the types of variables it offers with a particular emphasis on the psycho-social measures that may be of interest to social workers. Because one goal of this symposium is to increase the use of the NLSY by social workers, the presenter will also briefly explain the data access procedures and supports available for new users.

Three empirical papers then illustrate the strength of this data. Each paper addresses a different topic related to family functioning, and all use sophisticated statistical models to best make use of the data's longitudinal and nested nature. The first paper, “Nonstandard Work Schedules and Child Behavioral Outcomes” examines how children age birth to 10 fare when their parents work nonstandard hours, defined as work shifts falling outside of the 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. range. Extensive control variables, random-effect specifications, and child fixed-effect models were use to account for selection bias and omitted variables.

The second paper, “Family Structure Transitions and Children's Wellbeing During Middle Childhood” shows how children are affected by transitions in their parents' relationship statuses. This analysis uses a sample of children age 5 to 12 and relies on Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) to identify the effects of family structure transitions on changes in achievement and behavior, while reducing bias from unobserved persistent child and family characteristics.

The final paper, “Independence Giving or Autonomy Taking? Childhood Predictors of Decision-Sharing Patterns Between Young Adolescents and Parents” summarizes a study of the extent to which children's skills and preferences influence family processes. Using a sample of adolescents observed at age 12 or 13 and measures of cognitive and social functioning observed earlier in their lives, the authors estimate children's influences in making decisions about their own lives. This analysis uses both cross-sectional and sibling fixed effects models to partially account for the enogeneity of child characteristics and family functioning. The discussant, a researcher at the Bureau of Labor Statistics*, will comment on the papers and other possible uses of this powerful and unique data source.

*Note: The BLS researcher's participation has been confirmed at the office level but not yet officially confirmed per Federal employee guidelines. We anticipate approval because there will be no out-of-area travel involved.

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