Growing Up in Australia
Newsletter No. 23, Autumn 2009

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

Wave 3 data collection

Data collection for Wave 3 is now complete with the last few interviews conducted in April this year. We are very pleased that we have again had great response from study families with 8,718 interviews conducted. This is 86% of all families who completed the first wave in 2004 - a great result by international standards.

For families where the study child's parents no longer live together, one parent was interviewed face-to-face and, where possible, a telephone interview was conducted with the other parent. This happened for 80 percent of families where contact information was provided for the other parent. Interviewers reported that the feedback from the parents who completed a telephone interview was extremely positive.

Teachers again proved very reliable respondents, with over 80 percent of teacher questionnaires returned – another good result.

Once again, we would like to extend our thanks to the interviewers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and to the Growing Up in Australia families for making the study so successful.

It is anticipated that the Wave 3 data will be released at the end of August this year.

Wave 4 development

By Wave 4, the K cohort children will be aged 10-11 years and the B cohort children will be aged 6-7 years. The development process for Wave 4 began in early 2008 and is currently in its final stages. A number of new content areas were proposed and testing of new items occurred during 2008.

A large number of questions will carry forward from earlier waves.  In addition, there will be new questions for parents on the following topics in Wave 4:

Domain New Wave 4 content (relevant cohort shown in brackets)
Child care
  • Reasons for not attending before or after school care (B)
  • Satisfaction with out of school hours care (B)
Child functioning
  • Child's capacity for self-control (K)
  • Friendships with antisocial peers (K)
  • Transition to middle school (K)
  • Difficulties in transition to new school (both)
  • Parental self-efficacy regarding education (K)
  • Parental involvement with school activities (both)
Family Functioning
  • Couple relationship (both)
  • Parental concerns for child (K)
  • Puberty (K)
  • Child's bed, sleep and waking times on school day/ weekend (both)
  • Child health/ongoing conditions (both)
  • Allergies (both)
  • Child's household tasks (K)
  • Child's pocket money (K)
  • Family of origin - Grandparents' employment status when Parent 1/Parent 2 was 14 years old (both)

The primary data collection method of a face-to-face interview with the child's main parent will continue. However, other data collection methods are being introduced to help reduce the time demands of the study on families and to ensure that time with families is used efficiently and effectively:

In addition, the K cohort children will have a longer child self report module than administered in Wave 3. This will be conducted as an audio computer assisted self-interview.

There has been considerable development work undertaken for the child's diary. Testing of two paper versions of the diary showed that this was challenging for children to complete on their own and was also time consuming. Therefore, a diary is being developed that will be given as a computer assisted interview.

Between waves survey – Wave 3.5

With over 70 percent of families responding to Wave 2.5 in 2007, between waves contact continues to be a valuable opportunity to keep up to date with children's experiences and an important and successful way of keeping in touch with families.

As reported in the Summer 2009 newsletter, Growing Up in Australia will again be contacting most study families with a short mail-out questionnaire in the year between the main waves. This will occur in early June this year (and is referred to as Wave 3.5). The questionnaires (different for each cohort) were developed through a collaborative process involving the LSAC teams at the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the LSAC Consortium Advisory Group and the LSAC Project Operations Team at the Australian Institute of Family Studies. Advice was also received from the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The questionnaires focus on the child's development and include questions on children's use of media and technology, their health, transition to school for the younger cohort, parental involvement in learning for the older cohort and how children travel to school.

Waves 5-8 planning

We are pleased to confirm that the study is going ahead for Waves 5-8. This will take the two cohorts of children up to 14-15 years and 18-19 years. The Consortium Advisory Group, FaHCSIA and the ABS will meet with Institute staff in June to discuss initial thoughts on areas of study and data collection modes for Waves 5-8.

Data Linkage

Accessing data from the new National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) national tests is an opportunity to supplement the information already collected in the study. These tests provide information on students' academic ability in reading, writing, language conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and numeracy. In Wave 3, consent was obtained from parents with children in the older cohort to access their child's results. Letters were sent to State and Territory Education authorities earlier this year to arrange access to the data for children in their state. Arrangements have been made with most authorities and it is anticipated that data linkage will occur later this year.

Other data linkages include:

2007/08 Annual Report

Copies of the Growing Up in Australia 2007/08 Annual Report are still available. If you would like copies, please contact the LSAC team or phone free-call 1800 352 275. The Annual Report is also available on the Growing Up in Australia website.

2009 LSAC Research Conference

The second LSAC Research Conference will be held in Melbourne on 3-4 December 2009.  Please put this date in your diary. Further information will be available on the website soon.

Other upcoming conferences

Research from the study will be presented at a number of conferences throughout 2009, including:

If you are interested in hosting a presentation to your organisation about Growing Up in Australia, please contact us or phone freecall 1800 352 275.

Joining the Mailing list

If you want to be contacted when new information on the study becomes available, please join our email alert service, growingup-refgroup.

Contact us

If you would like further information about the Growing Up in Australia study, please visit our website at or contact us.