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ALSPAC ALSPAC The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children

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Presentation on theme: "ALSPAC ALSPAC The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children"— Presentation transcript:

1 ALSPAC ALSPAC The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children

2 Why Avon? Defined geographical area Low level of outward migration Broadly representative of UK as a whole Good mixture of: Social background Housing Urban/rural Enthusiastic health professionals Supportive teachers and employers

3 Study design Eligibility criteria: Mothers had to be resident in Avon and have an EDD between and Methods of enrolment: – Posters in public places – Media coverage – Approach at routine scans or in hospital after birth – Community midwives Enrolled 14,541 pregnancies Following 13,801 mothers, 13,971 children

4 ALSPAC Data Self completion questionnaires Health records Biological samples Environmental monitoring Education records Hands on assessments

5 Building a positive relationship After 18 years - over 10,000 still participating Re-enforcing the worth of taking part, reminding families & young people they are special Relationship of trust with families invaluable in maintaining cohort Involving participants in advising on study developments, including ethics Feedback research findings via newsletters and press

6 ALSPAC FATHERS Not directly enrolled when mother enrolled Partner questionnaires sent to mother for her to pass on Asked partner DOB in early quests + relationship to study child in later ones Increasingly complicated family relationships

7 Age of partner at completion of FIRST Questionnaire Average = (min=15; max=65)

8 Social class reported in Mum s Questionnaire at 32 weeks NumberPercentage I II III (non manual) III (manual) IV V Armed forces270.2 TOTAL

9 Education reported in Mum s Questionnaire at 32 weeks Highest educational qualification NumberPercentage 1 CSE Vocational O level A level Degree TOTAL

10 Q; Time pointNumber sentCompletedResponse rate 12 wks gest wks gest weeks mths mths mths % 47 mths (3y 11m) % 61 mths (5y) % 73 mths (6y 1m) % 85 mths (7y 1m) % 97 mths (8y 1m) % 110 mths (9y 2m) % 10 yr % 11 yr % 12 yr % Questionnaires to partners

11 Why dads/partners? Much research internationally on mother and child health/wellbeing, little on fathers and children Family level effects on mens health as well as that of mothers and children Considerable volume of data collected on men about their health and lifestyle from average age 30 makes this a powerful resource for studying modifiable factors related to health/wellbeing of the men in their own right

12 Study of fathers / partners allows improved interpretation of determinants of child outcomes Genetic factors can be studied in relation to mens own health and also to that of their children

13 Findings Depression in fathers in the postnatal period is associated with later psychiatric disorders in their children, independently of maternal postnatal depression. (Ramchandani et al, 2008) Increased paternal age is associated with delayed conception. (Ford et al, 2000) Childrens social development may be enhanced by time alone with fathers, but boys seem to suffer academically from long hours of paternal care when they are toddlers. (Washbrook et al, 2007)

14 Enrolment of Partners Why now after 18 years? Moving towards seeing each study participant as separate individuals Want to approach fathers directly for data collection (DNA) + data linkage How are we doing this? Sending initial mailing via mother asking her to pass on to current partner If that is not biological father, asking her to pass info on to him too

15 Who advised ALSPAC study team in devising protocol? Fathers Focus group, ALSPAC Ethics & Law Committee Need to consider complicated family relationships Including current partner + biological father if not the same person

16 Data Collection on Fathers In the next year or so Sample collection for DNA Questionnaire about own health and lifestyle In the next 5 years Hands on assessments Record Linkage Further questionnaire(s)

17 Issues Will dads/partners take part? What would improve uptake? What discourages taking part? What are the key issues in mens lives that ALSPAC could contribute to studying? What are best means of contact? What publicity / participation campaigns would work? What other incentives could there be?

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