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Publication Detail
Millennium Cohort Study: Sixth Survey, 2015
  • Publication Type:
  • Creators:
    Fitzsimons E, Calderwood L
  • Publisher:
    UK Data Service
  • Date created:
  • Place of publication:
    UK Data Service
  • Identifier:
  • Series:
    Millennium Cohort Study
  • Status:
  • Spatial coverage:
  • Version:
    Sixth Survey
  • OA Licence:
  • Temporal Coverage:
    MCS6; Child of the New Century
  • Keywords:
    Millennium Cohort Study, Child of the New Century, Children, Family life and marriage, General health and well-being, Time use, Social behaviour and attitudes, Health behaviour, Labour and employment, Education, Income, property and investment/saving
  • Notes:
    The UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) fills a major gap of 30 years since the previous birth cohort, and is unique as a longitudinal resource for providing evidence on growing up in the UK in the 21st century. The study began with an original sample of 18,818 cohort members, recruited across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in infancy, in 2000-02. It has conducted seven face-to-face data collections to date, at ages 9 months, 3, 5, 7, 11, 14 and 17 years. The study provides multiple measures of the cohort members’ physical, socio-emotional, cognitive and behavioural development over time, as well as detailed information on their daily life, behaviour and experiences. Alongside this, rich information on economic circumstances, parenting, relationships and family life is available from both resident parents. The data it generates provides a vital source of evidence on key policy areas, including in education, parenting, adolescent mental health and wellbeing, and childhood obesity. The MCS is core-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and co-funded by a consortium of government departments. The achieved sample size at Age 14 was 11,872 (11,726) cohort members (families). The primary aim of this sweep was to provide a rich, multi-disciplinary resource for the research and policy community, adding detailed, age-relevant information from cohort members at age 14 and their families to the existing database covering ages 9 months, 3, 5, 7, 11 years. Longitudinal continuity with previous sweeps was combined with major innovations including, first, the collection of saliva samples from cohort members and resident biological parents, providing the first large-scale social science resource with a triad of DNA; second, a mixed-mode approach to the collection of time diaries, making MCS the first large-scale study to implement such a novel approach to collect diary data; third, the collection of state-of-the-art measures of physical activity and sedentary behaviour through wrist-worn accelerometers; and finally, the study introduced its first ever cognitive assessment for parents. Alongside these major innovations, the study continued to collect a wealth of data from main and partner respondents, and extended the breadth and depth of information it collected directly from cohort members through a 45 self-completion questionnaire. It administered two cognitive assessments with cohort members, and their measured height, weight and body fat. These elements together resulted in an exceptionally significant data resource, opening up opportunities for novel, exciting and policy-relevant research in several domains across social and biomedical sciences, and providing an essential point of reference in longitudinal data and research. The outstanding rigour and value of this resource has led to wide use internationally and across disciplines. The dataset has been downloaded by data users 1659 times since deposit in May 2017. MCS has generated over 1000 publications since its inception. Via the publications it has generated, this dataset has been a formative influence on research and policy in both social sciences and health.
The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) is a large-scale, multi-purpose longitudinal dataset providing information about babies born at the beginning of the 21st century, their progress through life, and the families who are bringing them up, for the four countries of the United Kingdom. The original objectives of the first MCS survey, as laid down in the proposal to the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in March 2000, were: to chart the initial conditions of social, economic and health advantages and disadvantages facing children born at the start of the 21st century, capturing information that the research community of the future will require to provide a basis for comparing patterns of development with the preceding cohorts (the National Child Development Study, held at the UK Data Archive under GN 33004, and the 1970 Birth Cohort Study, held under GN 33229) to collect information on previously neglected topics, such as fathers' involvement in children's care and development to focus on parents as the most immediate elements of the children's 'background', charting their experience as mothers and fathers of newborn babies in the year 2000, recording how they (and any other children in the family) adapted to the newcomer, and what their aspirations for her/his future may be to emphasise intergenerational links including those back to the parents' own childhood to investigate the wider social ecology of the family, including social networks, civic engagement and community facilities and services, splicing in geo-coded data when available Additional objectives subsequently included for MCS were: to provide control cases for the national evaluation of Sure Start (a government programme intended to alleviate child poverty and social exclusion) to provide samples of adequate size to analyse and compare the smaller countries of the United Kingdom, and include disadvantaged areas of England The first sweep (MCS1) interviewed both mothers and (where resident) fathers (or father-figures) of infants included in the sample when the babies were nine months old, and the second sweep (MCS2) was carried out with the same respondents when the children were three years of age. The third sweep (MCS3) was conducted in 2006, when the children were aged five years old, the fourth sweep (MCS4) in 2008, when they were seven years old, the fifth sweep (MCS5) in 2012-2013, when they were eleven years old, the sixth sweep (MCS6) in 2015, when they were fourteen years old, and the seventh sweep (MCS7) in 2018, when they were seventeen years old. End User Licence versions of MCS studies: The End User Licence (EUL) versions of MCS1, MCS2, MCS3, MCS4, MCS5, MCS6 and MCS7 are held under UK Data Archive SNs 4683, 5350, 5795, 6411, 7464, 8156 and 8682 respectively. The longitudinal family file is held under SN 8172. Sub-sample studies: Some studies based on sub-samples of MCS have also been conducted, including a study of MCS respondent mothers who had received assisted fertility treatment, conducted in 2003 (see EUL SN 5559). Also, birth registration and maternity hospital episodes for the MCS respondents are held as a separate dataset (see EUL SN 5614). Release of Sweeps 1 to 4 to Long Format (Summer 2020) To support longitudinal research and make it easier to compare data from different time points, all data from across all sweeps is now in a consistent format. The update affects the data from sweeps 1 to 4 (from 9 months to 7 years), which are updated from the old/wide to a new/long format to match the format of data of sweeps 5 and 6 (age 11 and 14 sweeps). The old/wide formatted datasets contained one row per family with multiple variables for different respondents. The new/long formatted datasets contain one row per respondent (per parent or per cohort member) for each MCS family. Additional updates have been made to all sweeps to harmonise variable labels and enhance anonymisation. MCS web pages: Further information about the MCS can be found on the Centre for Longitudinal Studies web pages. How to access genetic and/or bio-medical sample data from a range of longitudinal surveys: A useful overview of the governance routes for applying for genetic and bio-medical sample data, which are not available through the UK Data Service, can be found at Governance of data and sample access on the METADAC (Managing Ethico-social, Technical and Administrative issues in Data Access) website. Secure Access datasets: Secure Access versions of the MCS have more restrictive access conditions than versions available under the standard End User Licence or Special Licence (see 'Access' section below). Secure Access versions of the MCS include: detailed sensitive variables not available under EUL. These have been grouped thematically and are held under SN 8622 (country of birth), SN 8623 (ethnic group, religion and language), SN 8624 (health, International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes and fertility information), SN 8625 (non-resident child information), SN 8626 (date the physical measurement was taken at sweep 3) and SN 8627 (full Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code and number of rooms detailed geographical identifier files which are grouped by sweep held under SN 7758 (MCS1), SN 7759 (MCS2), SN 7760 (MCS3), SN 7761 (MCS4), SN 7762 (MCS5 2001 Census Boundaries), SN 7763 (MCS5 2011 Census Boundaries), SN 8231 (MCS6 2001 Census Boundaries) and SN 8232 (MCS6 2011 Census Boundaries). These files replace previously available files grouped by geography SN 7049 (Ward level), SN 7050 (Lower Super Output Area level), and SN 7051 (Output Area level) linked education administrative datasets for Key Stages 1, 2 and 4 held under SN 8481 (England). This replaces previously available datasets for Key Stage 1 (SN 6862) and Key Stage 2 (SN 7712) linked education administrative datasets for Key Stage 1 held under SN 7414 (Scotland) and SN 7415 (Wales) linked NHS Patient Episode Database for Wales (PEDW) for MCS1 – MCS5 held under SN 8302 Banded Distances to English Grammar Schools for MCS5 held under SN 8394 the exact date of interview held under SN 8456 The linked education administrative datasets held under SNs 8481, 7414 and 7415 may be ordered alongside the MCS detailed geographical identifier files deposited under SNs 7758, 7759, 7760, 7761, 7762 and 7763 only if sufficient justification is provided in the application. The linked education administrative datasets are not available alongside the Hospital of Birth: Special Licence Access dataset under SN 5724. Users are also only allowed one MCS5 Geographical Identifiers Census Boundaries study, either SN 7762 (2001 Census Boundaries) or SN 7763 (2011 Census Boundaries); the same applies for the MCS6 Geographical Identifiers Census Boundaries studies, users are only allowed either SN 8231 (2001 Census Boundaries) or SN 8232 (2011 Census Boundaries). Researchers applying for access to the Secure Access MCS datasets should indicate on their ESRC Accredited Researcher application form the EUL dataset(s) that they also wish to access (selected from the MCS Series Access web page). MCS5: The fifth sweep took place when the children were aged around 11 and in their last year of primary school. Fieldwork started in January 2012 and finished in February 2013. Interviews were conducted with the main carer (typically the child’s parent) and their co-resident partner (typically the child’s other parent). The cohort children had measurements taken of their height, weight and body fat; participated in three cognitive assessments and completed a self-completion questionnaire. A survey of class teachers was also conducted but only in England and Wales, and consent was collected from the parent and children to contact the teacher. May 2017: The longitudinal family file is now available separately under SN 8172. For the 5th edition (August 2020), the datasets remain in long format but a correction has been made in the relationships grid of mcs5_hhgrid dataset and the number of cases has been updated (see the mcs_longitudinal_family_file and the variable DATA_AVAILABILITY). Improvements have also been made to variable labels and details are available in the MCS Longitudinal Data Dictionary spreadsheet which provides information on all the variables available in MCS datasets across sweeps with topic information. A new Derived Variables User Guide and Data Handling Guide with Syntax in R, STATA and SPSS have also been added, along with an updated User Guide. MAIN TOPICS The files currently included in the MCS5 study comprise data from the main Parent Interview, the Household Grid, Child Measurement and Assessment and the Cohort Member self-completion questionnaire. The Parent Interview file comprises data from the Main Respondent, Partner Respondent and Proxy Respondent questionnaires, which covered household information; family context; education, schooling and childcare; child and family activities; parenting activities; child’s health; parent’s health; employment, income and education; housing and local area; and other matters. The Household Grid file comprises demographic data on households and additional derived variables. The Child Assessments and Measurement files include cognitive and physical measurements, including verbal similarities; a memory task (officially named the Spatial Working Memory task); a decision-making task (officially named the Cambridge Gambling task); height; weight; and waist circumference and body fat measurement. The Cohort Member paper self-completion was given to all participant children. The Teacher Survey data covered information about the child (ability, attitude, behaviour, Special Educational Needs, friends); the child’s parents; streaming and setting, the child’s class; and basic demographics about the teacher.
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