Expectations

Expectations

NLSY97 respondents in select years shared their beliefs about events that might occur in their future. In addition, responding parents in round 1 provided corresponding expectations about the youth respondent's future, so researchers may be able to compare parent and child perceptions for that round.

Youth Questionnaire.  In round 1, respondents who were born in 1980 or 1981 were surveyed on their beliefs about the future.  To assess the probability that certain events would occur in a given time period, the respondents were instructed to use a scale from 0 (impossible) to 100 (certain). 

Expectations questions were included again in the round 4 survey.  In this round, all respondents were asked to answer a similar series of questions.  Table 1 lists the events and the time periods included in each round. 

In round 5, respondents were randomly divided into four experimental groups of roughly equal size that were used to study response rate for this type of question.  Instead of answering expectations questions in a single section (as in previous rounds), they encountered them separately in each appropriate topical section.  Expectations about education were asked in the schooling section, expectations about pregnancy were asked in the fertility part of the self-administered section, etc.  The variable SYMBOL!TXGROUP indicates the experimental group to which each respondent was assigned.  A non-experimental group of respondents skipped these questions in the topical sections and instead were guided through the expectations section as in previous rounds. 

In round 6, respondents born in 1980 were only asked to assess the probability that they would die in the next year (reference S12512.) and the probability that they would die in the next 5 years (reference S12513.).

Parent Questionnaire (round 1).  Responding parents of youths born in 1980 or 1981 were asked to assess the probability that certain events, described in Table 1, would occur in the life of the youth within a specified time period.

Table 1. Topics of Expectations Questions

Event and Time Period Youth,
Round 1
Responding
Parent, Rnd 1
Youth,
Round 4
Youth,
Round 5
Youth,
Round 6
   
One year from the interview date  
Arrested (whether rightly or wrongly) *   *    
Dead from any cause (e.g., crime, illness, accident) *       born in 1980
Enrolled in a regular school * * *    
Pregnant or have gotten someone pregnant *   * *  
Seriously drunk at least once *   *    
Victim of a violent crime *   *    
Working for pay for > 20 hours per week and enrolled * * *    
Working for pay for > 20 hours per week and not enrolled *   *    
Get married     * *  
Moved from current residence       *  
By the youth's 20th birthday  
Mothered or fathered a baby * *      
Dead from any cause (e.g., crime, illness, accident) *         
Received a high school diploma * *      
Served time in jail or prison * *      
By the youth's 30th birthday  
Earned a four-year college degree * *   *  
Working for pay for > 20 hours per week * *      
Five years from the interview date  
Arrested (whether rightly or wrongly)     *    
Enrolled in a regular school     * *  
Pregnant or have gotten someone pregnant     * *  
Seriously drunk at least once     *    
Dead from any cause         born in 1980
Victim of a violent crime     *    
Working for pay for > 20 hours per week and enrolled     *    
Working for pay for > 20 hours per week and not enrolled     *    
Get married     * *  
Across entire life  
Have any/have more children, how many       *  
     
Note: Round 1 youth who were born in 1980-81 were asked these questions; in rounds 4 and 5, all respondents were age-eligible.

Comparison to Other NLS Surveys:  Respondents in the NLSY79, Children of the NLSY79, Young Women, and Young Men have all answered questions about their educational and employment expectations for the future; however, the specific questions and reference periods have varied widely.  Users should consult the appropriate cohort's User's Guide for details.

Survey Instruments:  These questions are found in the expectations section (question names begin with YEXP) of the Youth Questionnaire and section PC11 of the round 1 Parent Questionnaire.

Related User's Guide Sections Crime, Delinquency & Arrest
Main Area of Interest Expectations
Supplemental Areas of Interest Educational Status &Attainment
Fertility and Pregnancy
Illegal Activity &Arrest
Education: School Experience
Substance Use
Employment: Hours Spent at Work