New study to look at what makes today’s teenagers tick

The Millennium Cohort Study, or MCS, has taken it upon themselves to conduct a comprehensive study of teenagers aged 14 following a funding worth £3.5m they have received from ESRC.

Scheduled for 2015, the survey will be acting as one of the phases of a birth study. The MCS is currently supporting 19,000 children born in 2000 and 2001 in Britain,

They have so far conducted 5 distinct surveys on the members, the first one being when they were aged 9 months, and the subsequent ones when they were aged 3, 5, 7 and 11.

David Willets, Minister for Science and Universities said “”This £3.5 million investment will build on the UK’s proud history of longitudinal studies. It will give us new insights into young people’s lives at a vital stage of their development, which will in turn help inform social policy.”

The study has been tracking the Millennium children through their early childhood years and plans to follow them into adulthood. It collects information on the children’s siblings and parents. MCS’s field of enquiry covers such diverse topics as parenting; childcare; school choice; child behaviour and cognitive development; child and parental health; parents’ employment and education; income and poverty; housing, neighbourhood and residential mobility; and social capital and ethnicity.

The age 14 survey will be the first study to look at them as adolescents. The survey will extend our understanding of risk behaviours, educational choices and aspirations, peer and family relationships and their consequences in later life.

Professor Lucinda Platt, Director of the Millennium Cohort Study said: “At the Centre for Longitudinal Studies we value the ESRC’s recognition of the significance of the age 14 sweep of the MCS. It will greatly help understanding of the all-important period of early adolescence from 11 to 14 as well as revealing whether what children do at this transition stage can reverse earlier patterns and go on to shape their adult life. We are very excited about continuing to work with the MCS cohort as they grow up.”

Chief Executive, Paul Boyle said: “The ESRC are pleased to be involved with the next phase of this exciting study. It will be exciting to see how the children are developing as they enter the next phase of their lives and beginning to make those all important decisions that will influence their journey into adulthood”.