Growing Up in Australia
Newsletter No. 18, Spring 2007

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

Growing Up in Australia (LSAC) Conference

The inaugural Growing Up in Australia: Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) Research Conference is being held on 3-4 December 2007 in Melbourne at the Oaks Hotel on Collins Street. The aim of the Conference is to provide a forum for the discussion of research based on data from the study and to highlight its potential.

We are very pleased with the number of submissions received for the inaugural LSAC Research Conference. Papers will be presented from a diverse range of topics. Some of these are:

For further details about the Conference including a full list of papers visit the LSAC Conference page.

Data training

We are offering our first data user-training day on Wednesday 5 December, the day after the conference. The focus of the training will be to assist users of the data, those considering becoming users, or those who are interested in learning more about LSAC data, to gain confidence in understanding and navigating the LSAC datasets. The training will cover a range of topics designed to give a comprehensive overview of the conduct of the study, its datasets and supporting documentation.

Wave 2 data

The Wave 2 data has now been released to researchers and policy makers. Application forms for access to the data are now available. A full set of user documentation, including data dictionary, user guide, weighting paper and marked up questionnaires will be provided with the data.

Wave 3

There has been very positive feedback from both interviewers and respondents regarding their involvement with the study.  As one parent said:

"Being part of a study that will be taken into consideration when future services for families are planned is a good feeling"

and from an interviewer:

"I would just like to say how thankful I am for having the opportunity to work on Growing Up in Australia. This would have to be the most enjoyable interviewing yet."

Wave 3 has now begun, with some families having already completed the interview. The majority of families will be interviewed next year, starting around March. Response to the first phase has been encouraging, with 93 per cent of families who were interviewed at Wave 2 also being interviewed at Wave 3.

Wave 3 follows a similar format as before. From Wave 3, the study will allow the cross sequential design to be exploited – the younger cohort are now the same age as the older cohort was in Wave 1 and comparisons between the cohorts will be able to be made.

The younger group of children, now aged 4-5 years, will complete the Who Am I? and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test activities. The older children will again complete the Matrix reasoning and Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test. Some new activities were trialed for the older cohort to assess children's progress in numeracy.

Some new activities were trialed for the older cohort to assess children's progress but at this stage it is likely these will not continue. Instead, efforts will concentrate on obtaining data linkage to the national numeracy and literacy data.

Between waves contact - Wave 2.5

As reported in the Autumn 2007 newsletter, Growing Up in Australia contacted study families with a short mail-out questionnaire during August 2007. The questionnaire contains questions on media and technology use, return to work and child support. The study design team worked with the Australian Government Departments of Employment and Workplace Relations and Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs in the development of the questionnaire.

So far half of the families have returned their questionnaires. Follow-up is continuing and we anticipate the response increasing to over 70 per cent. Data from Wave 2.5 will be available in April 2008.

'Life at' series

The Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs is very pleased to be involved with the series consisting of both documentaries and website updates developed by Film Australia in conjunction with Heiress Films. The series draws on the experience of the Growing Up in Australia study.  We know that many of you enjoyed Life at 1, the first installment in this landmark series following 11 babies and their families. The series tracks families through their ordinary routines and milestones, and looks at the impact on their lives of things such as parents' relationships, finances, work, health and education.

Following the successful screening of Life at 1, a Life at 2 website was launched by the ABC to provide updates on the families and their children between the documentary waves.

One feature of the Life at 2 website is the live forums, where parents and other interested people have the chance to ask the experts questions about different topics. The first forum was in July with Professor Ann Sanson, principal scientific advisor to Growing Up in Australia, on: "If the world really has gotten any better or worse for our children in the past twenty years". Forums, held each month, also cover:

You can visit the Life at 2 website and join in on the discussion live at the scheduled times (last Wednesday in every month, except December) or, alternatively, you can checkout the website to view previous forums by looking at the ‘Latest Research Message Board' and/or the monthly archives.

Film Australia is currently in the midst of production of Life at 3. Institute researchers returned to conduct the Growing Up in Australia interviews with the families featured in the first documentary.  Advice and commentary is being provided by some of our Consortium Advisory Group members. The researchers felt privileged to catch up with the families and see how they are progressing.

Recent publications using Growing Up in Australia data

See the Publications page on the Growing Up in Australia website for all our publications.

Conferences featuring Growing Up in Australia data

During 2007, presentations using data from Growing Up In Australia were made at a number of other conferences both in Australia and overseas. These include:

Contact us

If you want to be regularly alerted to developments in Growing Up in Australia, please subscribe to our email alert service.

There have been some slight changes to our reference group: it is now just an alerting service, rather than a discussion group. However, we are always pleased to hear your thoughts and comments on Growing Up in Australia. So if you wish to provide feedback or if you want further information on the Growing Up in Australia study and you can't find it on our website, please contact us.