In the next open seminar of the TLU Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Life-course Studies, Ann Berrington and Seb Stannard from University of Southampton will introduce the British Cohort Studies (the 1958 NCDS cohort; 1970 BCS70; and Millennium Cohort Study) and describe how they provide a rich opportunity for life course research. Ann Berrington will start by reviewing some of the unique insights that birth cohort studies can provide. In the early sweeps parents provide information on the cohort member. From around age 10 onwards the cohort member also completes questionnaires. The rich prospective nature of the data means that: researchers can identify intergenerational transmission of behaviour; can examine the link between attitudes and intentions early in the life course and later behaviour; and examine the mediators through which parental background factors are associated with outcomes in adulthood.
Seb Stannard will then provide an exemplar where he has used the BCS70 to explore the intergenerational transmission of partnership dissolution paying particular attention to the early life mediators underpinning the intergenerational process. Early life mediators include family socioeconomic status, maternal mental wellbeing, child behaviour, child locus of control, child cognition, highest educational qualification and age at first partnership. Utilising longitudinal data provides the opportunity to explore the temporal sequencing of characteristics and experiences valuable for interpretation associations. The fact that the BCS70 started at birth provides the opportunity for Seb’s work to adjust for parental controls, to analyse both parental and offspring reports of their partnership instability and to test a variety of early life mediating variables, unexplored within previous UK studies and unavailable in most alternative datasets.
Ann Berrington is Professor and Joint Head of Department of Demography and Social Statistics at the University of Southampton and leads the Fertility and Family strand of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Centre for Population Change. Her research interests concern transitions to adulthood, partnership and family formation and dissolution, and how these are associated with socio-economic inequalities across the life course. She is currently a Co-I on an ESRC-funded project on Understanding and Projecting Fertility Trends in the UK, and Co-I on the ESRC funded UK Generations and Gender Survey.
Seb Stannard is a third year PhD Student in Demography and Social Statistics at the University of Southampton. He is an expert on the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) and his research interests concern utilising the BCS70 to explore the pathways through which events in childhood may impact both health and demographic outcomes at midlife, paying particularly attention to early life mediating pathways. For example, one of his papers focused on the association between birth order on mental wellbeing at midlife.
The series of open seminars is organized by the TLU Center of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Life Studies (IET), funded by the European Union Regional Development Fund (ASTRA project "TLU TEE Tallinn University as a promoter of intelligent lifestyle"). In 2021, the seminars are co-organised by the consortium of YouthLife Project which has received funding from the European Union´s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 952083.