Child-Survey Instrument Structure and Content

Child-Survey Instrument Structure and Content

Introduction

Each NLSY79 Child interview involves the administration of a Child Supplement, designed for children age 4 and older, eligible for one or more of the child assessments. The Child Supplement was designed primarily for items that involve interviewer contact with the child. The Child Supplement contains the interviewer-administered assessments and questions for school-agers on classroom activities, teacher practices, homework, work for pay, asthma, religion, and the interviewer home observations.  Table 1 gives a detailed list of the contents of the child questionnaires used in the current survey round.

Table 1. NLSY79 Child Surveys: Current Instrumentation and Survey Content

Child Supplement (CS) Child Self-Administered Supplement (CSAS) Mother Supplement (MS)

Preliminaries:
Age & DOB check/verification
Consent to assess/interview child (4 yrs+)
Enrollment & current grade (4-14 yrs)

Child Height/Weight Child Assessments (4 yrs+):
What I am Like (SPPC): 12-14
Memory for Digit Span: 7-11
PIAT Math: 5-14
PIAT Reading Recognition: 5-14
PIAT Reading Comprehension: 5-14
PPVT: 4-5, 10-11

Interviewer Evaluation of Testing Conditions

Child Schooling (8-14 yrs):
Homework
Classroom activities
Teacher behavior/practices
Parent assistance with homework/school plans

Asthma (10-14 yrs)

Work for Pay (10-14 yrs)

Religion (10-14 yrs)

Child Self-Administered Supplement (CSAS) (10-14 years)

Observations of Home Environment

Interviewer Remarks

After-School & Extracurricular Activities
Alcohol, Cigarette, & Drug Use
Anti-Social Behaviors
Attitudes on Gender Roles
Child "Moods"
Child Task Expectations
Childbearing Expectations
Computer Access/Training/Use
Dating
Educational Expectations
Friendship Network
Interviewer Remarks
Marriage Expectations
Neighborhood Safety
Parental Consensus
Parent-Child Decision-Making
Parent-Child Interaction
Parent-Child Joint Activities
Risk-taking Behavior
Rules for Child Behavior
School Satisfaction
Sex Education
Summer Activities
Time Away from Parents
TV Viewing
Volunteerism (14 years old)
Weapons at School

Child Background:
Name, age verification
School/preschool attendance
Head Start
Parent involvement
Child religion

Child Health:
Height/weight
Limiting conditions
Accidents/injuries/illnesses/hospitalization
Menarche
Handedness
Insurance

Mother-Report Assessments:
The HOME
How My Child Usually Acts (3-6 yrs)
Motor & Social Development (0-3)

School & Family (5-14 yrs):
Scholastic progress & difficulties
Ratings of school effectiveness
Expectations for child education
Child social relationships

Behavior Problems Index (4-14 yrs)

Child Mental Health (0-14; 4-14 yrs)  

NOTE: A Child Supplement and a Mother Supplement are administered for each eligible child. Starting in 2006, the Mother Supplement was fully integrated into the main Youth questionnaire and the CSAS, previously a separate questionnaire, became a section of the Child Supplement. CS and MS sections not otherwise labeled are intended for all children ages 0-14. Sensitive items are self-administered.

Most of the primary variables found in the child data set are derived directly from one or more survey instruments, e.g., questionnaires or other interview forms.  Constructed variables on the Child file that are not based directly on the Child assessments (e.g., pre- and postnatal care, child care, or maternal employment) are derived from information reported by the mothers during their own main NLSY79 Youth interviews. 

Users are urged to examine the NLSY79 Child data collection instruments and relevant main NLSY79 Youth questionnaires in conjunction with the other documentation that accompanies the data files.  Online documentation for these questionnaires is available under "Questionnaires" in the Other Documentation section and in the Survey Instruments section. Details on the content of each questionnaire and the mode of administration used in prior survey rounds, as well as the current survey, are discussed below.

Prior Rounds. The Child data collection instruments have undergone changes, some of which are documented in this and other users guides from prior rounds as well as in the NLSY Child Handbook: 1986-1990, part 1 and part 2 (Baker et al., 1993, PDF).  From 1986-1992, separate paper instruments were used to collect interview and assessment information for each NLSY79 Child. A Child Supplement (CS) was the interviewer-administered assessment questionnaire. A Mother Supplement (MS) was given to mothers so they could report assessment information about each child. In 1988 a third questionnaire, the Child Self-Administered Supplement (CSAS) was introduced to collect self-reports from each child age 10 years or older.

CHILD SUPPLEMENT 1994. In 1994 the Child Supplement was converted to Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI), while the MS and CSAS remained in paper format.

CHILD SUPPLEMENT 2000.  In 2000 all items in the Mother Supplement for children under age four were moved to the Child CAPI Supplement.  Some sections on school and family that had previously been in the Mother Supplement were transferred to the Child Supplement for CAPI administration.  The Child Self-Administered Supplement used in 2000 was still a confidential paper self-report aimed at children ages 10-14.

CHILD SUPPLEMENT 2002. In the 2002 survey round, each child interview involved the administration of one Child Supplement (CS), a Mother Supplement (MS) and, for children age 10-14, a Child Self-Administered Supplement (CSAS). In the 2002 survey, the Child Supplement was essentially reserved for items that involved interviewer contact with the child. The 2002 Child Supplement focused on the interviewer-administered assessments and questions for school-agers on classroom activities, teacher practices, homework, work for pay, and religion.  Starting in 2002, all items that had been traditionally addressed to the mother, such as schooling, health, and family background were moved into the Mother Supplement, which became a CAPI instrument for the first time. In 2002 the Child Self-Administered Supplement (CSAS) was converted from paper to CAPI and given to children who were age 10-14 by December 31 of that survey year.  The CSAS was made available both on laptop and on hand-held PDA (Personal Data Assistant) in 2002.

CHILD SUPPLEMENT 2004. In the 2004 survey round, each child interview involved the administration of one Child Supplement, one Mother Supplement and, for children age 10-14, a Child Self-Administered Supplement. In the 2004 survey, the Child Supplement was essentially reserved for items that involved interviewer contact with the child. The 2004 Child Supplement focused on the interviewer-administered assessments and questions for school-agers on classroom activities, teacher practices, homework, work for pay, and religion.  In 2004 all items that had been traditionally addressed to the mother, such as schooling, health, and family background, were moved into the Mother Supplement, which became a CAPI instrument for the first time. In 2004 the Child Self-Administered Supplement (CSAS) was converted from paper to CAPI and given to children who were age 10-14 by December 31, 2004.  The CSAS was made available both on laptop and on hand-held PDA (Personal Data Assistant).

CHILD SUPPLEMENT & MOTHER SUPPLEMENT 2006. In the 2006 survey round, the Mother Supplement was folded into the mother's main Youth questionnaire and the Child Self-Administered Supplement became a section of the Child Supplement. So, while the MS and CSAS content were preserved, in 2006 they were no longer separate instruments.

 

Child CAPI Supplement

The Child CAPI Supplement (CS) is used by the interviewer to:

  1. verify age and grade of the child
  2. weigh and measure the child
  3. give children the interviewer-administered cognitive and socio-emotional assessments
  4. obtain information about the child's current school experience
  5. evaluate the testing conditions
  6. record observations of the child's home environment

Table 2 displays the contents of the CS for the most recent survey, how the section was administered, and the age at which a child was eligible for each section.

Table 2. Child Supplement - Administration Pattern by Age of Child

Section Name: Prelimi-naries Age Check Consent, Grade Child Hgt & Wgt What I Am Like (SPPC) Digit Span PIATs PPVT Evaluation of Testing Conditions Child Schooling Asthma, Work for Pay & Religion CSAS (self-report) HOME Observa-tions Inter-viewer Remarks
Age Range 4-14 yrs 4-14 yrs 4-14 yrs 12-14 yrs 7-11 yrs 5-14 yrs 4-5, 10-11 yrs1 4-14 yrs 8-14 yrs 10-14 yrs 10-14 years11 4-14 yrs 4-14 yrs
Age 4 FI asks mom FI asks mom FI measures or asks mom - - - FI asks child FI only - - - FI only FI only
5 FI asks mom FI asks mom FI measures or asks mom - - FI asks child FI asks child FI only - - - FI only FI only
6 FI asks mom FI asks mom FI measures or asks mom - - FI asks child FI asks child1 FI only - - - FI only FI only
7 FI asks mom FI asks mom FI measures or asks mom - FI asks child FI asks child FI asks child1 FI only - - - FI only FI only
8 FI asks mom FI asks mom FI measures or asks mom - FI asks child FI asks child FI asks child1 FI only FI asks child - - FI only FI only
9 FI asks mom FI asks mom FI measures or asks mom - FI asks child FI asks child FI asks child1 FI only FI asks child - Child self reports2 FI only FI only
10 FI asks mom FI asks mom FI measures or asks mom - FI asks child FI asks child FI asks child FI only FI asks child FI asks child Child self reports FI only FI only
11 FI asks mom FI asks mom FI measures or asks mom - FI asks child FI asks child FI asks child FI only FI asks child FI asks child Child self reports FI only FI only
12 FI asks mom FI asks mom FI measures or asks mom FI asks child - FI asks child - FI only FI asks child FI asks child Child self reports FI only FI only
13 FI asks mom FI asks mom FI measures or asks mom FI asks child - FI asks child - FI only FI asks child FI asks child Child self reports FI only FI only
14 FI asks mom FI asks mom FI measures or asks mom FI asks child - FI asks child - FI only FI asks child FI asks child Child self reports FI only FI only
1 Some children 6 to 9 years of age with no previous score were administered the PPVT in this round.  
2 Some children 9 years of age at the date of interview (10 years as of Dec 31) will complete an abbreviated CSAS.

The Child Supplement begins with questions addressed to the mother on the child's current grade, enrollment status, and height and weight.  The interviewer administers the following sections to the mother before starting any child assessments:

Preliminaries – short introduction in which the interviewer verifies the name and age of the child to be interviewed and the mode in which the questionnaire will be administered (in-person or telephone).

Consent/grade–the interviewer verifies parental permission to interview the child and asks about the child's current grade in school. Grade is used to determine a good estimated entry point into the PIAT assessments.

Child Height and Weight –height and weight are collected either by mother report or interviewer measurement.

The interviewer then administers the following assessments directly to children age 4 and older:

Interviewer-Administered Child Assessments – What I am Like (SPPC) for children age 12-14; Memory for Digit Span for children 7-11; PIAT Math and Reading subtests for children 5 and older; and the PPVT-R administered to children 4-5, and 10-11.

All interviewer-administered assessments are completed using CAPI software, a process that was introduced into the surveys in 1994.  The software presents the interviewer with on-screen facsimiles of the assessment items, stores each response that is entered, and then automatically scores the test.  Original materials prepared by the test designers for PIAT Math and Reading Recognition are presented to the child.  The PIAT Reading Comprehension and the PPVT are presented to the child on-screen. Each assessment is followed by a series of check items in which the testing conditions are evaluated by the interviewer.

After the interviewer-administered assessments are completed, the following sections on school, work, asthma and religion are  administered to older children:

Child Schooling (age 8-14) – questions addressed to school age children about reading, homework, classroom activities, and their perception of parental involvement in school.

Work for Pay (age 10-14) – a brief series on type of work for pay, frequency, and earnings.

Asthma (age 10-14) – questions on any asthma symptoms in the last month; type of symptoms and their effect on schoolwork and physical activity.

The Child Supplement concludes with interviewer reports on the child's testing environment and a checklist of conditions observed in the home. 

Interviewer Evaluation of Testing – interviewer reports used to gauge the attitude of the child toward testing, the child's general physical condition, and whether there were any events that interfered with assessment or caused premature termination of the session.

Interviewer Observations of the Home Environment – interviewer perceptions of the child-mother interaction and the nature of the child's physical surroundings. Most of the items that comprise the HOME scales are in the mother-report assessment section of the Mother Supplement.  However, selected interviewer observations of the home environment (found in the CS) are used in scoring the HOME assessment.

The Child CAPI Supplement flowchart illustrates the sequence in which a case proceeds through the current questionnaire according to the age of the child.

Changes to the Child Supplement (CS). In 2002 virtually all the child background questions that appeared in previous survey rounds in the beginning of the CS (directed to the mother) were moved to the Mother Supplement. This design was also used in 2004 and subsequent survey rounds.

Changes to the Assessments:  Starting in 2002, two of the original printed assessment easels are no longer displayed to the child in the administration of the PPVT or PIAT Reading Comprehension.  The child views the PPVT images on the laptop while the interviewer follows along using a printed word list.  PIAT Reading Comprehension subtest is also displayed on-screen to the child while the interviewer still uses the assessment materials in the standard manner. All assessments, including the PPVT, were administered only in English starting in 2002.  Interviewers were instructed to make comments in the assessments or interviewer remarks section if other languages were used in the interview to facilitate understanding.

Child Schooling raised to age 8:  Starting in 2002, questions about the child's most recent classroom experiences and homework are directed to children 8 and older. Before that survey round this series was administered for children age 5 and older.

Religion & Work for pay moved from CSAS: Questions about religious affiliation and jobs that were self-reported in the Child Self-Administered Supplement (CSAS) for children 10-14 prior to 2002 are now administered by the interviewer in the Child Supplement.

Child CAPI Supplement in the Current Survey Round. The current Child Supplement questionnaire is available under “Questionnaires” in the Other Documentation section.

 

Child Self-Administered Supplement (CSAS)

The Child Self-Administered Supplement (CSAS), introduced in 1988, has been used to collect information from children ages 10 years and older on a wide range of topics including child-parent interactions, family decision-making, attitudes toward school, extra-curricular activities, work for pay, peer relationships, dating activities, attendance at religious services, antisocial behavior, and substance use. 

In booklet form until 2002, this self-report series is administered on laptop (and on PDA in 2002 and 2004) by children who are 10 to 14 years old by the end of the survey year. The CSAS collects information on:

  1. child-parent interactions
  2. family decision-making
  3. attitudes toward school
  4. after school and extra-curricular activities
  5. jobs and employment
  6. peer relationships and dating activities
  7. religious identification and attendance at religious services
  8. birth and marriage expectations
  9. sex education
  10. participation in various delinquent activities
  11. use of cigarettes, alcohol, and other illegal substances
  12. risk taking and depression
  13. computer use

Through 2000 children age 13 and older were asked about age at first intercourse. Once children reach the Young Adult survey they are asked questions about sexual activity. See Table 1 at the beginning of this section for details on the current content of the CSAS.

Changes in the CSAS. The content of this supplement has gradually expanded since 1988, the first survey year that it was used. In 1992, the following items and topics were added to the Child Self-Administered Supplement: 

  1. dates of birth and usual residence of any children born to the NLSY79 children age 13 or older
  2. expanded categories on the decision-making questions
  3. parent interaction
  4. parent-child closeness
  5. depression
  6. peer pressure
  7. school rating
  8. neighborhood safety

In 1994, with the introduction of the Young Adult survey, the CSAS was limited to children ages 10-14.  In that same year, a sequence of questions was added regarding the nature of parent interactions on issues relating to the child.  A seven-item series was added that probes into the child's ideas about appropriate roles for boys and girls in the family, with peers, and in school.  Also included for the first time in 1994 was a sequence on risk-taking. The substance use series was substantially augmented by the addition of in-depth questions about current use of cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, and a variety of other drugs.  A series of questions about computer use and programming knowledge was also introduced in 1994.  The only significant change since 1996 was an expansion, in 1998, of the sequence of questions relating to substance use.

A CSAS confidential report form was used from 1988 to 2000 to collect information on early sexual activity for children 13 and older. In 2000 the questions on the CSAS confidential card about live births were eliminated since this information is now collected as the children become young adults. Starting in 2002, questions about early sexual activity are no longer administered to children under age 15. The following questions, which were asked in the 1988-2000 surveys of children ages 13 and 14, were deleted from subsequent Child survey rounds:

CSASCC2A       Have you ever had sexual intercourse? ("had sex", "made it", etc.)
CSASCC2A       What grade were you in when you first had sexual intercourse?
CSASCC2B       How old were you when you first had sexual intercourse?
NOTE: These questions are also asked of young adult children once they become eligible for the Young Adult interview.

CSAS on PDA.  In 2002 and 2004 the Child Self-Administered Supplement was available on a hand-held personal data assistant (PDA) and on laptop.  In those survey rounds children were encouraged to complete the CSAS on PDA while the interviewer continued other parts of the interview either with the mother or siblings on the laptop.  If only one child age 10-14 was in the household or the laptop was not being used, that child could complete the CSAS on laptop as soon as the assessments were completed. A question was added in 2002 and repeated in 2004 on the extent of the child's previous experience using any type of hand-held digital device.

User Note

In the survey years in which the CSAS was a separate CAPI questionnaire, it was necessary to determine ahead of time which children would take the CSAS. Thus, all children who might turn 10 during the field period were identified as eligible for the CSAS.  This means that some children who were age 9 at the time of the interview, but who would turn 10 by the end of the year, were eligible to start the CSAS and complete a short mini series once their age at the date of interview was established.

Child Self-Administered Supplement in the Current Survey Round. The CSAS section is included in the current Child Supplement questionnaire, available under “Questionnaires” in the Other Documentation section.

 

Mother Supplement (MS)

Table 3 describes the current content of the Mother Supplement and the age at which each child is eligible for a particular section.

Table 3. Mother Supplement  - Administration Pattern by Age of Child

Section Name Child Background Health Motor & Social Development How My Child Acts (Temperament) The HOME School & Family Behavior Problems Child Mental Health
Age Range 0-14 yrs 0-14 yrs 0-3 yrs 3-6 yrs 0-14 yrs 5-14 yrs 4-14 yrs 0-14 yrs
Age <1 * * *   *     *
1 * * *   *     *
2 * * *   *     *
3 * * * * *     *
4 * *   * *   * *
5 * *   * * * * *
6 * *   * * * * *
7 * *     * * * *
8 * *     * * * *
9 * *     * * * *
10 * *     * * * *
11 * *     * * * *
12 * *     * * * *
13 * *     * * * *
14 * *     * * * *

The current Mother Supplement begins with an introduction to obtain information about each child's schooling, religious attendance, and health.  The interviewer asks about the child's home environment and temperament and then turns the laptop over to the mother so she can complete a self-administered section on her child's school progress, behavior problems, and mental health. Designed to be completed by the mother or guardian for each child, the Mother Supplement contains the following sections:

Child Background - Questions on school attendance, Head Start, teacher behavior and classroom activities, parental involvement in school, child's religious attendance, the importance of religion, and a confidential series on the child's progress in school and ratings of school quality.

Child Health - Mother reports on the child's general health status, accidents and injuries, illnesses, menarche (age at first menses) update, handedness, insurance coverage, mental health.

Mother report assessments - The HOME; Behavior Problems Index for children 4-14; Temperament or "How My Child Acts" for children ages 2 to 6; and Motor & Social Development for children under age 4.

CASI section - Mother reports on child's school progress, educational expectations and social relationships, and mental health; provides ratings of school effectiveness.

The Mother Supplement flowchart depicts the general content and pathways of the Mother Supplement in the current survey year.

Changes to the Mother Supplement.  From 1986-2002 the Mother Supplement (MS) was a paper booklet, self-administered by the mother.  In 2000, assessments for children under age 4 years were moved out of the MS into the CS for that survey round only. In 2004, the paper-and-pencil Mother Supplement was converted to a CAPI instrument. Questions about child school attendance and Head Start that were previously addressed to the mother at the beginning of the Child Supplement (CS) were moved into the Child Background section of the Mother Supplement. The MS Child Health section now contains the series about limiting conditions, accidents, and injuries that used to be in the Child Supplement. School and family background questions, which were once in the paper Mother Supplement and then in the Child CAPI Supplement, are in the Mother Supplement. 

Three mother-report assessments, that were previously self-report, are now (starting in 2004) administered to the mother by the interviewer:

  1. The HOME
  2. How My Child Usually Acts (Temperament)
  3. Motor and Social Development

While most of the Mother Supplement questions are asked by the interviewer, mothers use CASI to self-administer a series of sensitive questions about each child's school progress, school rating, class standing, and educational expectations. They also report on each child's problem behaviors by completing the Behavior Problems Index (BPI) in the CASI section. Some confidential health questions, previously in the CS, are now self-administered in a brief MS section called Mental Health when reporting about children 4 and older.

Three questions on the following topics were added to the School & Family section of the Mother Supplement in 1992: rating of child's current school, rating of the child's general well-being and prospects, and degree of parent knowledge about child's friends.  These questions are now completed by mothers for all their children of school age.  In 1996 and thereafter the minimum child age for these schooling questions was lowered from age 10 to 5 years.

In 2006, the entire Mother Supplement was integrated into the mother's main Youth Questionnaire. This change means that the items in the MS are administered in their entirety for each child as a series of "child-by-child loops" in the main Youth questionnaire. A second implication of this change is that the date of the MS assessments may differ significantly from the date the interviewer-administered child assessments take place, in the Child Supplement.

Mother Supplement in the Current Survey Round. The child-based Mother Supplement section of the main NLSY79 questionnaire is available under “Questionnaires” on the child documentation main menu. Users who would like to view the mother supplement in the context of the full NLSY79 survey instrument can access the NLSY79 main Youth questionnaire through the NLSY79 documentation page.