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New South Wales Child Development Study (NSW-CDS): an Australian multiagency, multigenerational, longitudinal record linkage study

11 Feb 2016

Purpose

The initial aim of this multiagency, multigenerational record linkage study is to identify childhood profiles of developmental vulnerability and resilience, and to identify the determinants of these profiles. The eventual aim is to identify risk and protective factors for later childhood-onset and adolescent-onset mental health problems, and other adverse social outcomes, using subsequent waves of record linkage. The research will assist in informing the development of public policy and intervention guidelines to help prevent or mitigate adverse long-term health and social outcomes.

Participants

The study comprises a population cohort of 87 026 children in the Australian State of New South Wales (NSW). The cohort was defined by entry into the first year of full-time schooling in NSW in 2009, at which time class teachers completed the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) on each child (with 99.7% coverage in NSW). The AEDC data have been linked to the children's birth, health, school and child protection records for the period from birth to school entry, and to the health and criminal records of their parents, as well as mortality databases.

Findings to date

Descriptive data summarising sex, geographic and socioeconomic distributions, and linkage rates for the various administrative databases are presented. Child data are summarised, and the mental health and criminal records data of the children's parents are provided.

Future plans

In 2015, at age 11 years, a self-report mental health survey was administered to the cohort in collaboration with government, independent and Catholic primary school sectors. A second record linkage, spanning birth to age 11 years, will be undertaken to link this survey data with the aforementioned administrative databases. This will enable a further identification of putative risk and protective factors for adverse mental health and other outcomes in adolescence, which can then be tested in subsequent record linkages.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open