Growing Up in Australia
Newsletter No. 17, Winter 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 research potential. Anyone interested in Growing Up in Australia and longitudinal survey research in general is likely to find the conference stimulating and is encouraged to attend.
Submissions for papers are now being sought. Contributions towards the travel and accommodation costs of presenters who have a paper accepted will be available. The Institute aims to cover the cost of an economy airfare and two nights accommodation for all Australian-based presenters (limited to one per paper). Conference registration fees will also be waived. Submission should be received by 28 September 2007.
Further details about the Conference, including registration details, will be posted on the Institute website at: www.aifs.gov.au/growingup/conf/conference2007.html.
Wave 2 data
The Wave 2 data is due for release to researchers and policy makers in August 2007. Application forms for access to the data are now available on our website through the Data access page. A full set of user documentation, including data dictionary, user guide, weighting paper and marked up questionnaires will be provided with the data and be available on our website.
We would still like to hear from any families who we were unable to contact in wave 2 - please phone freecall 1800 005 508.
The development phase for the third wave of data collection has now concluded. The first stage of data collection commenced in August 2007, with the main collection phase beginning early in 2008. Preliminary interviewer training was conducted during July and August, with three-day training workshops in Melbourne and Sydney.
Between waves contact - Wave 2.5
With over 70 percent of families responding to Wave 1.5 in late 2005, between waves contact is an important and successful way of keeping in touch with respondents between the main waves of data collection in Growing Up in Australia. It also provides opportunities for nested studies (such as the study on parental leave around the birth of a child conducted by Dr Gillian Whitehouse from the University of Queensland in Wave 1.5).
As reported in the Autumn 2007 newsletter, Growing Up in Australia is contacting study families with a short mail-out questionnaire during August 2007. The questionnaire contains questions on media and technology, 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.
Life at 3
Following from the successful screening on ABC-TV of Life at 1 in October 2006, Film Australia has begun production of Life at 3. The series, which draws on the experience of Growing Up in Australia, will revisit the 11 children and their families and continue to examine the factors that impact on their lives.
Institute researchers Ren Adams, Anna Ferro and Carol Soloff returned to conduct the Growing Up in Australia interviews with the families featured in the first documentary. Anna, Ren and Carol reported that it was great to catch up with the families and to see how they are progressing.
Life at 2 Website
The Life at 2 website has been launched by Film Australia. This website provides updates on the families and their children from the Life at 1 documentary once the children are aged 2 years.
This attractive and interactive website also provides information to the public about research conducted using LSAC data and has games for children, videos about different topics and a huge amount of information on children's development, including a number of quizzes that parents can complete in order to understand different attributes about their children.
The Life at 2 website offers live forums, where parents and other interested people will have the chance to ask the experts questions about different topics. The first forum was held on July 18 with special guest expert Professor Ann Sanson, principal scientific advisor to Growing Up in Australia, on the topic: "If the world really has gotten any better or worse for our children in the past twenty years".
The Life at 2 website can be found at http://lifeat2.typepad.com.
Technical paper on the use of Time Use Diary data
Institute researcher, Jenny Baxter, has prepared a paper on "Children's Time Use in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children: Data quality and analytical issues in the 4-year cohort", Technical paper no.4, July 2007. This paper analyses the Wave 1 children's time use diaries for the 4-5 year cohort of Growing Up in Australia and demonstrates some of the ways these time use data can be used, while primarily exploring the missing data in the diaries. This paper is very useful for anyone interested in analysing the time use diary data.
Recent publications using Growing Up in Australia data
The Institute has been involved with a number of publications using Wave 1 data from Growing Up in Australia. These include an article in Family Matters, edition 76 on "How four year olds spend their day: Insights into the caring contexts of young children" (see abstract), and the production of a pamphlet on: "A snapshot of how Australian families spend their time".
The Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs has recently released a major report on "Mothers and fathers with young children: paid employment, caring and wellbeing". The paper examines how parental employment relates to the use of childcare, the time parents spend with children and parental wellbeing.
Four themes are addressed in the report:
- The labour force status and job characteristics of parents with young children.
- Patterns of use of child care and how they vary according to parental employment status.
- The impact of parental employment on parenting and time spent with children.
- The relationship between parental employment status and the wellbeing of parents.
Other recent publications and presentations using information from Growing Up in Australia can be found at www.aifs.gov.au/growingup/pubs/.