Growing Up in Australia
Newsletter No. 14, September 2006

Published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, ISSN 1448-9147 (Online)

Between waves data release (Wave 1.5)

Data from Wave 1.5, will be released in late 2006 and will provide the first opportunity to analyse Growing Up in Australia as a longitudinal dataset. The Wave 1.5 questionnaires included about 20 questions, covering aspects of the children's behaviour, development and general health issues such as asthma, injuries and sleeping patterns. The areas of education, childcare, stressful life events and parent's mental health were also covered and parents were asked what they liked about their child.

The infant (or B) cohort mail-out also included a nested study by Dr Gillian Whitehouse from the University of Queensland, with additional questions regarding service utilisation, parental employment history, maternity and other leave and employment after birth. Copies of the questionnaires can be accessed on the Growing Up in Australia website. Highlights from the data will be included in the Growing Up in Australia 2005-2006 Annual Report, due for release later this year.

The item asking parents what they liked about their child provided an opportunity to hear from parents in more detail about their children. One theme in the responses of B cohort parents was their experience of children's growth and development at this age:

"I love it that every day a new little piece of his personality comes out. Whether it be a new expression on his face, a new action or a new word."

"She has a great sense of humour and is starting to develop an imagination - which is great fun to watch."

"I really love waking up to her smiling face every day. She is growing up so very, very fast and I just wish she could stay the way she is now forever."

Many child (or K) cohort parents commented on the everyday experiences of parenting:

"I like the way she calls me mumma (instead of mummy). I like the way she smiles and cuddles me when we read stories together at night."

"I love the way she tells me what's going on at school each day. Her facial expression and body language is so cute. I love it when we are reading at night and she works out a word by herself. Her excitement and pride in herself is so contagious. She really likes to help me around the house and out in the garden. I like having her working beside me, she pretends she is so grown up."

"I love his happy smiling face and his funny sense of humour. He makes me laugh when he cracks himself up. I love watching him play football, and I love most of all how he pulls his shorts up and tucks in his shirt. I love how he loves to have a snuggle after dinner and gets his back tickled. And I love how he doesn't change when he's around other children. He's always gorgeous."

Other comments included:

"She is very outgoing and strong willed which is sometimes difficult to manage but mostly I am pleased that she is confident'. (K cohort)

"He brightens up any room he enters. He is usually always happy and his eyes sparkle when he smiles." (K cohort)

"I love the way he always comes to give me a big cuddle when I haven't seen him for a few hours." (B cohort)

"He makes us laugh. He's beautiful." (K cohort)

Further information about the release of Wave 1.5 data will appear on the study's website closer to the release date and existing users will be notified.


Wave 2 data collection

With over 70 per cent of the sample now enumerated, the Wave 2 response rate continues to be good. Judging from the volume of positive feedback received by the interviewers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Institute - including delightful pictures drawn on parental questionnaires by study children - respondents are clearly enjoying their ongoing involvement with Growing Up in Australia.

Data collection will continue for Wave 2 until November 2006. Information about final response rates will be included in future newsletters.


Wave 3 development

Development of content for Wave 3 is continuing, with testing of possible new content beginning soon. The following is a list of new topics being considered for inclusion in Wave 3.

DomainPossible new Wave 3 content
Family Functioning
  • Attitude of parent living elsewhere (PLE) toward co-parenting
  • Chores, pocket money (K)
  • Extended caring roles of family members
Child Functioning
  • Influence of peers (K)
  • Child physical activity levels (K)
Education (K cohort)
  • Out of school time activities (K)
  • Homework (K)
  • Year 3 National Literacy and Numeracy results (K)
Child Care
  • Non-school hours supervision (K)
  • Parent perception of quality of care (B)
  • Child care affordability - financial stress (B)
  • Marital status at time of study child's birth
  • Wage rates


Life at 1 documentary

A documentary by Film Australia, drawing on the experience of the Growing Up in Australia study, will be screened on the ABC at 8.30pm on Thursday, 12 and 19 October. Life at 1 is the first instalment in a landmark series following 11 babies and their families.

Life at 1 follows the babies through milestone events and days of ordinary routine, and looks at the impact on their lives of factors such as their parents' relationships, finances, work, health and education.

It is important to note however that the families in Life at 1 were recruited separately from the Growing Up in Australia respondents and are not part of the main study.

The documentary explores what makes the children thrive along with restrictions on their growth and wellbeing, with information provided by the children's families, information from experts (including members of the Growing Up in Australia Consortium Advisory Group) and with reference to data from the Growing Up in Australia study.

Episode 1 focuses on the personalities of the babies and Episode 2 examines the stress of 'modern living' on the children.


Consolidation of information on Wave 1 sources and rationale

Consolidated information will be available in late 2006 on the sources of measures used in Wave 1 and the rationale for the inclusion of particular topic areas. The information will be available from the study's website . In the interim, researchers who require urgent information are welcome to contact the LSAC team.


Recent papers, presentations and publications

A number of papers were presented on Growing Up in Australia at the 19th Biennial Meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development, held in Melbourne on 2-6 July. Further details on these and other presentations using data from Growing Up in Australia can be found in the Conference papers and presentation page.


Contact us

If you want further information on the Growing Up in Australia study, please explore our website at or contact us.