Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children
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Study News

Welcome to the July edition of LSAC News.

We are happy to inform you that LSAC Wave 9 fieldwork will take place later this year, with an online survey replacing face-to-face interviewing. Our number one priority is the health and safety of our LSAC participants and interviewers, and we are pleased we can safely continue with fieldwork at this uncertain time.

Over the last few months, the Growing Up in Australia team has been preparing a revised Wave 9 survey, known as Wave 9C. While continuing to ask questions that track participants’ development and wellbeing, and ensuring the longitudinal nature of the study remains intact, Wave 9C will also focus on the impacts of COVID-19 and recent natural disasters, such as bushfires.



What will Wave 9C involve?

A 30-minute online survey called Wave 9C1 will be administered to young people and parents from both B and K cohorts, from early September to early October 2020. A follow-up online survey called Wave 9C2 is planned for early 2021.

Wave 8 data will be released in two parts

  1. Part 8.1 will comprise the Wave 8 data inventory, and is scheduled for release in September 2020.
  2. Part 8.2 will be a refreshed Wave 8.1 data inventory, with updated Medicare data and will be scheduled for release at a later date. 
Wave 8 data will be available to researchers via the Australian Data Archive.

New items in the Wave 8 data release

 B Cohort Study Child (SC):
  • branched Eating Disorder Test
  • executive functioning
  • help seeking
  • living across two households 
  • religious beliefs
  • self-harm
  • sexual orientation/experience. 
B Cohort Parent/s:
  • parental literacy.
K Cohort Young Person (YP):
  • attitudes to risk
  • workplace bullying and harassment
  • partner’s information (e.g. education and income)
  • intimate partner violence
  • gender identity
  • Kessler 6 Depression Scale expanded to Kessler 10.
K Cohort Parent/s:
  • parental health insurance.


Wave 8 Child Health CheckPoint data

Between Waves 6 and 7 (in 2015–16), the B cohort study children participated in the Child Health CheckPoint, a standalone physical health and biospecimen module.
The Wave 8.1 data release will include an expanded CheckPoint dataset, including derived items for the following:
  • retinal photography (a non-intrusive measure of the cardiovascular system’s small vessels)
  • telomere length (a measure of accelerated cell division associated with age-related diseases)
  • metabolomics (228 metabolic biomarkers including lipids, amino acids, and fatty acids) 
  • children’s handwritten stories about their expected life at age 25 (including measures of vocabulary, grammar, and text content).

Growing Up in Australia Snapshots

For a number of years, we’ve published Annual Statistical Reports (ASR) analysing LSAC data, and provided insights to assist policy makers and researchers to understand children’s development within Australia’s social, economic and cultural environment.
This year, the ASR has been refreshed and will be published in the form of Growing Up in Australia Snapshots’.
Analysing Wave 7 data, these smaller, topic-specific publications will be released one by one from early August 2020 through to the end of the year.
Here is a ‘snapshot’ of some of the topics that will be covered, focusing on adolescents:
  • Discrimination
  • Self-harm
  • Work and study
  • Alcohol use.


The next LSAC Data Users Workshop will take place as a pre-conference workshop and be offered by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) in association with the AIFS 2021 Conference. AIFS is currently taking registrations for their conference and associated pre-conference workshops, here.
The workshop was due to take place this year (June 2020) but was postponed due to the Australian Government’s advice surrounding COVID-19.
To learn more about LSAC data, the Data and documentation page on the Growing Up in Australia website contains useful documents for beginner and more experienced data users.

In the media

Home-supported learning: Using what works in schools

Article: Teacher Magazine (21 April 2020)
In response to COVID-19 and the effect on teachers, this article references the ‘Use of technology in the classroom’ chapter from the LSAC Annual Statistical Report 2018 to explore how classroom teaching models can best be translated to the home-based learning environment.

Pawsitive influence: Children who grow up with dogs and cats in the house are 20 per cent less likely to have social and emotional problems as adults, study claims
Article: Daily Mail UK (27 March 2020)
This article reports on the findings from a recent study using LSAC data to explore the association between pet ownership and children’s socio-emotional development. Among the findings were that children with no siblings benefited most from owning a pet, and pet ownership helps children with their social-emotional development. Read more about this study in the publication listed below.


These publications used LSAC data in their research.
Australia’s children report 
Australia’s children: in brief 
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) (2020) 
The Australia’s children report, published by AIHW draws on the latest available data to provide a comprehensive overview of the wellbeing of children and their families living in Australia.
Autism spectrum disorder prevalence in children aged 12–13 years: From the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children
May, T., Brignell, A. & Williams, K. (2020)
Autism Research: Official Journal of the International Society for Autism Research
This paper looked at data from the parents and teachers of the B and K cohorts at 12-13 years, to explore the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The findings show that the B cohort had a higher rate of prevalence than the earlier born K cohort, but a milder presentation of ASD.
Cross-sectional metabolic profiles of mental health in population-based cohorts of 11 to 12 year olds and mid-life adults: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children
Lange, K., Lycett, K., Ellul, S., Saffery, R., Mensah, F., Carlin, J., Gold, L., Edwards, B., Azzopardi, P., Sawyer, M., Juonala, M., Burgner, D. & Wake, M. (2020)
The Australian and New Zealand journal of Psychiatry

Using LSAC Child Health CheckPoint data, this paper investigated associations between mental health and an increased risk of heart disease at different life stages. The biomarker module from Child Health CheckPoint and self-report mental health scales from a sample of 11–12 year olds and mid-life adults were examined. The researchers found that better child and mid-adult (approx. 45 years old) mental health was associated with lower levels of the specific biomarkers linked with cardiovascular disease.
Mothers, fathers, and the intergenerational transmission of gender-role attitudes
Perales, F., Hoffman, H., King, T., Vidal, S., & Baxter, J. (2020)
Life Course Centre Working Paper Series
This working paper examines whether and how parents’ gender-role attitudes are passed on to their teenage children. The findings suggest that family influences do play a key role in the development and maintenance of gender-role attitudes in adolescents.
The relationship between early risk-taking behavior and mental health problems among a nationally representative sample of Australian youth
Smout, A., Newton, N.C., Slade, T., O’Donoghue, B., & Chapman, C. (2020)
Journal of Affective Disorders
This study investigates any associations between risk-taking behaviour such as alcohol and illicit drug use and self-harm, and mental health problems in Australian young people. The findings show the earlier risk-taking behaviours are conducted, the stronger the association with mental health problems.
Pets are associated with fewer peer problems and emotional symptoms, and better prosocial behaviour: Findings from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children
Christian, H., Mitrou, F., Cunneen, R., & Zubrick, S.R (2020)
Journal of Pediatrics
This paper explores an association between pet ownership and children’s socio-emotional development. Drawing on B and K cohort data during the first four LSAC waves, it found that compared to non-pet owners, children aged 5 and then 7 years old who owned a pet (cat, dog, or other) experienced fewer emotional and peer problems. In regards to prosocial behaviour only, it found that children with no siblings benefited most from having a pet.
Children’s social-emotional wellbeing: The role of parenting, parents’ mental health and health behaviours.
Rioseco, P., Warren, D., & Daraganova, G. (2020)
Paper commissioned by Emerging Minds through the Parenting Research Centre. Australian Institute of Family Studies.
This paper examines the association of mothers' parenting behaviours, parents' mental health and parents' health behaviours (alcohol use and smoking) with social-emotional wellbeing of primary school children. The paper shows that children’s mental health outcomes can be improved if parents receive the right supports.
Use of health services among children at risk of social‑emotional problems: Opportunities for early intervention
Warren, D., Quinn, B., & Daraganova, G. (2020)
Paper commissioned by Emerging Minds through the Parenting Research Centre. Australian Institute of Family Studies.
This paper looks at how health services are being used by children at risk of poorer psychological outcomes, and how they have contact with a diverse range of health services. Many of them don’t access the full range of supports they might need.

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