Growing Up in Australia
Newsletter No. 9, March 2005

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

Wave 1 Data Release

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator the Hon. Kay Patterson will launch the release of Wave 1 data with the first Growing Up in Australia Annual Report in May 2005. Both a hardcopy and a PDF version of this report will be available.

Data from the main study are also due to be released to researchers and policy makers in May. Application forms for access to the data will be available on our website towards the end of April. A full set of user documentation will accompany the release of data.

Between Waves Contact

We will shortly be contacting all the families who were interviewed during 2004, sending a newsletter updating them on the study's progress and enclosing a short mail back questionnaire. We will also offer an on-line service for completion of the questionnaire.

The mail-out will occur in 2 stages - one at the end of April and one in mid June - with results expected later in the year, though not due for public release until 2006.

The nested study by Dr Gillian Whitehouse from the University of Queensland, on parental leave and working conditions before and after the birth of a child, will be included with the mail-out for the infant cohort.

If you are interested in seeing copies of the questionnaires, please contact us.

Wave 1 Final Response Rates

Final response to the initial mail-out from the Health Insurance Commission was 54 per cent overall. The response rate was higher for the infant cohort, with 57 per cent of families agreeing to take part (resulting in 5,107 infants in the study), compared to 50 per cent for families with 4-5 year old children (4,983 children in the study).

The main sources of sample loss were refusals (31 per cent for the infants and 35 per cent for the 4-5 year olds) and non-contacts - people who had moved or for whom only a post office box address was available (10 per cent for the infants and 14 per cent for the 4-5 year olds). The most common reason given for refusing was "not interested/ too busy". Interviewers felt that there are many people who are very time pressured.

Although the response rate is lower than would be preferred, this is mainly an issue if the final sample is not representative of the target population. Non-response analysis has shown that the most significant difference between the study families and the target population is a higher proportion of mothers (and fathers) who have completed Year 12 at school.

Further details of the non-response analysis will be available in LSAC Technical paper no. 2 "Wave 1 weighting and non-response" which will be released at the same time as the Wave 1 data. The more significant differences between the target population and the sample are being compensated through differential weighting of the sample.

The response rates for the other study materials (for eligible children) were:

Wave 2 Development

Wave 2 development has continued at a rapid pace. A list of the new items being tested is given at the end of this newsletter.

A small pilot test of all Wave 2 study instruments will be conducted in late April/early May, mainly to obtain a broad indication of interview length and to test new measures. Pilot test questionnaires will be available on request from the end of April by contacting the LSAC team.

Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing will be used for the main interview. This offers a lot of benefits in terms of data quality, though a longer lead time is needed for the programming requirements.

Symposium at AIFS Conference

Presentations relating to Growing Up in Australia were given at the AIFS conference on 9-11 February 2005. A symposium was held that covered an overview of Wave 1 content, a first glance at the Wave 1 data, plans for data analysis, and details of the Outcome Index.

Papers that feature preliminary data analysis were presented in other sessions. Copies of the presentations and/or papers are available from the Growing Up in Australia Conference papers and presentations page.

Long Term Research Program

In order that the opportunities to use the LSAC data are thoroughly explored by Government and academic researchers, including partnerships between the two, a data analysis framework has been developed by the Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS). The draft framework was developed in consultation with potential users and FaCS is currently undertaking a further round of consultation.

FaCS is also working on a report that presents some of the Wave 1 data to meet the immediate needs of policy makers, the content of this report having been developed from discussions with policy makers from State/Territory and Australian governments. The report will be available shortly after the launch of the data.

For further information, contact Jane Dickenson or phone (02) 6244 8568.

Contact us

Now that data collection is complete, the wave 1 questionnaires are available on our website. If you would like to use these in any studies you are undertaking, please contact us so that we can ensure the appropriate copyrights are acknowledged.

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


Proposed 'New' Wave 2 Content

Child health

2 year olds

Both cohorts

Parent health

Both cohorts

Child functioning

2 year olds

Child care

2 year olds


2 year olds

Both cohorts

Family functioning

Both cohorts