Growing Up in Scotland: New findings launched

GUS is the longitudinal research study following the lives of thousands of children and their families from birth through to the teenage years. For over seven years now, we have collected information from families across Scotland on all sorts of topics, including parenting. The children in our original birth cohort are now nearly eight. This year, for the first time, we are asking the children to answer some questions about school, home and family life; friends; well-being and materialism.

We have recently recruited a further 6,000 families to the study. These families have children born during 2010/11 and were interviewed when their babies were around 10 months. This new information will allow researchers to find out whether the circumstances and experiences of children growing up in Scotland are changing, and whether policies and services are helping to give children 'the best start in life'.

At our annual conference in May, we launched new findings from the first six years of the study on early experiences of primary school; overweight, obesity and activity; and the involvement of grandparents in children's lives.

'Early experiences of primary school' looks at the factors which lead to positive early experience of school for children; the early engagement of parents with school and teachers; and the many practical issues associated with starting school such as school choice, transport, homework and wrap-around care.

'Overweight, obesity and activity' describes the weight and physical activity characteristics of six-year-olds in Scotland and considers the factors associated with children's overweight/obesity and lack of exercise. These include parental and also family and neighbourhood factors which might limit a family's ability to pursue a healthy lifestyle. The report also looks at mothers' recognition of and concerns about children's weight.

'The involvement of grandparents in children's lives' provides a detailed understanding of the support which grandparents give to grandchildren and their parents during children's early years. It also looks at the variations in the levels and types of support which different 'types' of grandparents provide.

More information and to download the new findings or contact lesley.kelly@ed.ac.uk

See the GUS chapter 'What research tells us about parenting young children' in 'Scotland: the best place in the world to bring up children?'

GUS is funded by the Scottish Government and is carried out by ScotCen Social Research in collaboration with the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships at the University of Edinburgh and the MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in Glasgow.