Growing Up in Scotland releases findings on the first five years of life

9 June 2011

A new set of reports from the Growing Up in Scotland (GUS) cohort study describe the realities of life for Scots children today.

A new set of reports from the Growing Up in Scotland (GUS) cohort study describe the realities of life for Scots children today. The reports cover various aspects of the children’s first five years, including parenting, cognitive development, diet and exercise. Health inequalities and the circumstances of persistent poverty are also examined.

The reports reinforce much of what has been learned from the longitudinal cohort studies housed at CLS, the 1958 National Child Development Study, the 1970 British Cohort Study and the Millennium Cohort Study. Among the key findings from the latest GUS reports are that:

  • Around one in ten Scots children experiences parental separation in their first five years. Separation increases the likelihood of mothers experiencing poor mental health and low income, which are both known to have negative effects on child outcomes.
  • Vocabulary assessments show that children with parents educated to degree level are, on average, 18 months ahead of children with poorly qualified parents at age 5.
  • Mothers living in disadvantaged circumstances are less likely to make use of services supporting parents with young children.
  • Good parenting has a positive impact on child health. This suggests that parenting support could help to reduce health inequalities.

GUS, run by the Scottish Centre for Social Research, was launched in 2005. It is tracking 5,000 children born between June 2004 and May 2005 and a further 3,000 born between June 2002 and May 2003. A new cohort of 6,000 babies (born between March 2010 and February 2011) is currently being enrolled into GUS. As the study progresses, the findings released this week will help to determine how children’s early circumstances can affect adult outcomes.

Read the press release from the Scottish Government.

Read the full reports on the GUS website.

Read the series of CLS briefing papers from age five of the Millennium Cohort Study.