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Psychological Attributes, Cognitive Abilities and Behaviour


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Title: Psychological Attributes, Cognitive Abilities and Behaviour

Psychological Attributes, Cognitive Abilities and
  • Dieter Wolke Zach Estes
  • University of Warwick

Structure of the Consultation
  • Introduction to the UKHLS
  • Psychological Attributes and Behaviour
  • - challenges
  • - criteria
  • - Importance Core Measures-brainstorming
  • - Specific areas/modules

The UK Household Longitudinal Study
Who we are the scientific leadership team
  • Nick Buck (ISER, Essex) Principal investigator
  • Randy Banks (ISER)
  • Stephen Jenkins (ISER)
  • Heather Laurie (ISER)
  • Peter Lynn (ISER)
  • Steve Pudney (ISER)
  • Lucinda Platt (ISER) ethnicity strand
  • Richard Berthoud (ISER) ethnicity strand
  • Heidi Mirza (Institute of Education) ethnicity
  • Dieter Wolke (Warwick) biomedical strand
  • Scott Weich (Warwick) biomedical strand

Structure of presentation
  • Background and developments so far
  • UKHLS objectives and key features
  • Structure of UKHLS and constraints
  • The UKHLS questionnaire
  • Relationship to BHPS
  • The consultation process
  • Some general issues for consideration
  • Timetable

  • UKLHS is a longitudinal study based on a
    household panel design, i.e.
  • sample based on all residents (adults and
    children) at addresses selected at wave one,
    following them at each wave, including movers and
    collecting data about new household members
  • Similar in design to British Household Panel
    Survey, which it will replace, and panels in
    other countries, e.g. SOEP, HILDA, PSID, SoFIE
  • Target sample size of 40,000 households largest

Background (2)
  • Major investment in the UKHLS is motivated by the
    success of longitudinal research in UK
  • Most diverse portfolio of studies in the world
  • In addition to BHPS Birth cohort studies (NCDS,
    BCS1970, MCS, ALSPAC), Studies of ageing (ELSA),
    Youth cohort studies (YCS, LSYPE), Census link
    studies and others
  • Longitudinal research has had major impacts on
    both scientific research and policy research

UKHLS informed by rationales for longitudinal
  • Net versus gross change gross change visible
    only from longitudinal data
  • e.g. decomposition of change in unemployment rate
    over time into contributions from inflows and
  • Some phenomena are inherently longitudinal (e.g.
    poverty persistence unstable employment)
  • Provides spell-based perspectives (and can
    observe how circumstances change with time spent
    in state)
  • Repeated observations on individuals allow for
    possibility of controlling for unobserved
    differences between individuals (fixed and random
    effect models)
  • The ability to make causal inference is enhanced
    by temporal ordering

Developments so far
  • ESRC secured strategic infrastructure funding
    from OSI to start UKHLS
  • Expert Panel (chair Peter Elias) steered
    development of UKHLS up to appointment of PI team
  • 4 expert studies made recommendations on content
    and design presented at meeting in October 2006
  • November 2006 March 2007, commissioning of
    principal investigator team
  • From April 2007, PI team starts work with
    consultation and commission survey organisation
  • ESRC continues to seek co-funding

Key features of UKHLS
  • The following should be exploited and shape the
    priorities for topic content
  • Large sample size proposed
  • Household focus of the design
  • Full age range sample
  • Innovative data collection methods
  • Multi-purpose multi-topic design to meet a wide
    range of disciplinary and inter-disciplinary
    research needs
  • Ethnic minority research
  • Biomedical research.

Key features large sample size
  • 40,000 households gives an opportunity to explore
    issues where other longitudinal surveys are too
  • Small subgroups, such as teenage parents or
    disabled people.
  • Analysis at regional and sub-regional levels,
    allowing examination of the effects of
    geographical variation
  • Large sample size allows high-resolution analysis
    of events in time, for example focussing on
    single-year age cohorts.

Key features household focus
  • Data collected on all members of sampled
  • Important for research on e.g.
  • consumption and income, where within-household
    sharing of resources is important,
  • demographic change, where the household itself is
    often the object of study.
  • Observing multiple generations and siblings
    allows examination of long-term transmission
  • Opportunities to explore linkages outside the

Key features full age range
  • The UKHLS sample includes full age range at any
    point in time so complements age-focused
    studies sampling elderly people (e.g. ELSA) or
    young people (e.g. birth cohort studies)
  • Provide a unique look at behaviours and
    transitions in mid-life e.g. for issues of
    pensions and long-term care, associated with old
    age, policy setting is influenced by earlier
  • Large sample size means that all cohorts can be
    analysed at a common point in time.

Key features innovative data collection
  • Continuous development in data collection methods
    benefiting from
  • experience from other longitudinal surveys,
  • the introduction of new technologies.
  • This will involve e.g.
  • additional modes of interviewing,
  • collection of qualitative and direct quantitative
  • external record linkage
  • Innovation Panel to allow experimentation and
    methodological development.

Key features broad interdisciplinary topic
  • UKHLS will be multi-purpose survey supporting a
    very wide range of research agenda
  • which means it cannot have the focus in depth
    that more specialist surveys can achieve
  • Strength arises from bringing together
    information on many life course domains
  • Interdisciplinary aims both to meet needs of
    traditional panel use disciplines (economics,
    social policy and sociology) and support more
    interdisciplinary work within the social sciences
    (e.g. geography and economics) within the
    biomedical sciences (e.g. psychology and
    genetics) and between the two.

Key features ethnic minority research
  • Ethnicity strand includes
  • Boost sample for five key groups (Indian,
    Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Carribean, Black African)
  • Questions focused on ethnicity issues
  • Recognises the increasing prominence of research
    into ethnic difference for understanding the
    make-up of British society and issues of
    diversity and commonality.

Key features biomedical researh
  • UKHLS will support collection of a wide range of
    biomarkers and health indicators
  • Opportunity to assess exposure and antecedent
    factors of health status, understanding disease
    mechanisms (e.g. gene-environment interaction,
    gene-to-function links), household and
    socioeconomic effects and analysis of outcomes
    using direct assessments or data linkage.
  • Opens up prospects for advances at the interface
    between social science and biomedical research.

UKHLS study design
  • Start with a sample of addresses, all members of
    private households found will be sample members.
  • At each wave all sample members above a threshold
    age eligible for interview.
  • Other individuals who form households with sample
    members after wave 1 eligible for interview.
  • UKHLS will be a longitudinal sample of
    individuals representing the whole UK population,
    and interviewed within a household context.
  • Individuals followed as they move and form new
  • Following rules mean that the UKHLS will remain
    representative of the UK population as it
    changes, subject to weighting and except for new
    immigrants to the UK.

UKHLS sample consists of
  • A new equal probability main panel achieved
    sample of 28,000 - 29,000 households. The
    fieldwork for this sample will commence in
    January 2009
  • A boost ethnic minority sample, to provide 1,000
    adult individuals in each of the five main ethnic
    minority groups
  • The BHPS sample of approximately 8,400
    households. BHPS sample data collection as part
    of the UKHLS will start with wave 2 in October
  • An Innovation Panel of 1500 households to enable
    methodological research. The fieldwork for the
    Innovation Panel will commence in January 2008.

UKHLS design
  • Some aspects remain to be finalised and depend
    partly on co-funding. The following are expected
  • 12 month intervals between interviews
  • Continuous fieldwork (implications for reference
    periods for retrospective questions) Possible 24
    month field period, with second wave overlapping
    with first
  • Face-to-face interview at wave 1 mixed mode at
    wave 2
  • Wave 1 individual interview not more than 40
    minutes, wave 2 depends on budget, unlikely to
    exceed 40 minutes and may be shorter
  • Some data collection from children aged less than
    16 not clear when this would start

The UKHLS questionnaire
  • Length constraints are likely to be particularly
    acute, given broad scope of UKHLS and wide range
    of demands
  • So move away from BHPS structure where most
    people are eligible to be asked all questions and
    most questions repeated each wave
  • More use of questions asked regularly, but not
    every wave
  • More use of questions asked only after key events
    or at particular ages
  • More use of sub-samples, perhaps random
    sub-samples, where full sample unnecessary, or
    demographic sub-samples

Structure of the UKHLS questionnaire
Consultation on UKHLS content
  • Key aims are to establish
  • 1) the priorities for inclusion in the UKHLS,
  • 2) the content of the core questionnaire (i.e.
    that part intended to be repeated at each wave),
  • 3) the content and sequencing of modules which
    might be included less frequently, or only be
    addressed to part of the sample.
  • Objective is to consult as widely as possible,
    within the constraints of the timetable (more on
    this later)
  • Particular objective to go beyond current
    longitudinal study users, and identify new areas

Methods of consultation
  • Topic groups (next slide)
  • Ethnicity strand consultation
  • Advisory committees and Governing Board
  • Using UKHLS web site to make documents on design
  • Targeted consultation with e.g. government
    departments, ESRC Boards and Directors, other
    research councils
  • Encouraging comments from any interested parties

Topic consultation groups
  • Standard of living measures (income, consumption,
    material deprivation, expenditure, financial
  • Family, social networks and interactions, local
    contexts, social support, technology and social
  • Attitudes and behaviours related to environmental
    issues (energy, transport, air quality, global
    warming etc.)
  • Illicit and risky behaviour (crime, drug use,
    anti-social behaviour etc).
  • Lifestyle, social, political, religious and other
    participation, identity and related practices,
    dimensions of life satisfaction/happiness
  • Psychological attributes, cognitive abilities and
  • Preferences, beliefs, attitudes and expectations
  • Health outcomes and health related behaviour
  • Education, human capital and work
  • Initial conditions, life history

Topic groups
  • We do not expect topic groups to be designing
    questions or questionnaire sections we are
    expecting them to identify measures and to
    justify their importance in terms of key research
  • Topic group first meetings taking place between
    25 June and 16 July,
  • Over the summer expected to continue business,
    mainly electronically
  • Convenors will be summarising conclusions
    questionnaire design team will have access to all
    comments received
  • Topic group cover may not be exhaustive some
    research areas may be missing. Let me know about
    those which concern you particularly.

Some cross-cutting issues for most topic groups
  • What is the optimal data collection frequency for
    measures from a research perspective?
  • What level of detail is really required?
  • For retrospective and flow measures what is the
    most appropriate reference period?
  • To what extent is it necessary to collect
    information about each individual within the
  • To what extent can data be reliably collected by
    one respondent on behalf of all others in the
    same household?

More cross-cutting issues
  • How important is continuity of measurement
    relative to the existing BHPS, and comparability
    with other UK national surveys?
  • To what extent is cross-national comparability an
    important consideration when choosing a measure?
  • To what extent can linkage with administrative
    and other data sources provide data that can
    substitute or complement collection of that data
    within the UKHLS?

Mode of data collection
  • First wave face-to-face, likely that future waves
    will use other modes, e.g. telephone, internet
  • Questions to be asked at every wave should be
    comparable whatever mode is used
  • Implications for design of core content (e.g.
    long lists are difficult over telephone)
  • NB we will be using Innovation panel to explore
    this further

Respondent burden issues
  • UKHLS will involve repeated contacts with sample
  • The better the experience at any wave the more
    likely take part next wave particularly
    important at first wave and other early waves
    until some commitment to study is established
  • Therefore
  • First wave cannot be too long
  • Avoid subject matter which is likely to be very
  • Minimise subject matter likely to be
    uninteresting to respondents (though different
    respondents have different interests!)

May-July 2007 Recruitment to topic consultation groups and first meetings
September 2007 Feedback from topic groups on core content, to contribute to questionnaire content for the Innovation Panel
September/October 2007 First meetings of Scientific Advisory Committee and Governing Board
December 2007 Consultation on wave one content concluded consultation on future waves continues.
January 2008 Plenary conference
January December 2008 and beyond Consultation on wave two and future wave content we anticipate that the topic groups would remain active
June 2008 Final survey pre-test for wave one
January 2009 Start of wave one main fieldwork
Psychology Opportunities
Psychology Opportunities
  • Address questions at the interface between social
    science, psychology and biomedical research
    (might include gene x environment interactions).
  • Longitudinal design, household recruitment and
    sample size make UKHLS uniquely suited to
  • - Transitions across entire lifespan (inc
  • - Effects of household and family on each others
    psychological functioning (generational effects,
    family environment)
  • - Ethnic differences
  • Psychological attributes should show clear
    individual variation at each stage of
  • Linkage to routine data sources (e.g. educational
    records SATs etc.)?

  • Limited questionnaire space and interview time
  • Respondent fatigue
  • Interviewer training and equipment costs for even
    basic psychological assessments (e.g. IQ,
    perception, memory etc.)
  • No funding beyond some core measures
  • Non-participation in psychologically invasive
    procedures (e.g. romantic relationships,
    sexuality etc.)
  • Optimum measurement frequency will vary greatly
    and according to age
  • Huge range of potential psychological measures

Some Selection Questions
  • Methods may range from experimental assessment
    and behavioural observation to survey methods.
  • attributes show inter-individual variation at
    each time point and intra-individual variation
    over time to be useful for the study of
    longitudinal trajectories
  • could be an outcome variable
  • potential to predict outcomes (e.g. health,
    education etc.) or mediate or moderate between
    social environment or family factors and outcomes
  • should (but not necessarily) address a construct
    that can be studied from childhood to old age.
  • Short, innovative, reliable valid
  • Scientific theory

Possible Topic Areas?
  • Personality variables
  • Social behaviour and interaction
  • Romantic/sexual behaviour
  • Communication skills
  • Emotional processing
  • Creative abilities
  • Beliefs and values
  • Intelligence
  • Memory (e.g. autobiographical, working,
  • Perceptual and motor skills
  • Achievement (e.g., literacy, numeracy, time
  • Eating behaviour

Brain Storm Must Areas
  • Rahman Human sexual orientation. Related to
    mental health and health related outcomes
    (example HIV) and cognition. Stable over time.
    Easily measured. Short easy scales (feel,
    behaviour, e.g. are you attracted to). Risky
    sexual behaviour (for example, number of same
    sex maybe ask about in last 12 months, 2
    partners in last 12 month as indicator for risky
    sexual behaviour). Childhood e.g. getting
    married when older. Endophenotypes (e.g.
    hormones) go sexual feeling behaviour measures.
    Once to every 5 years. 2 mins. Mainly as
    predictor variable. What is the best age? Aged
    20. Issue of whether other family members are
    around. Questions re identity not ideal,
    especially for women. Questions about
    feelings/behaviour might be better for
  • Amanda Roberts Risky behaviour pornography use
    (e.g. Kinsey Institute USA). E.g. fathers/family
    attitudes towards pornography (8 item scale).
    Addiction to the internet. Potential problems in
    asking questions re ethnicity. Ethical issue
    because of illegality.

Brain Storm Must Areas
  • Alternative communication SMS, internet,
    messenger, my space, blogs, chat rooms effects
    social communication, family time, quality
    conflict. Social intelligence. May inform how
    social relationships develop and change.
  • Online gambling
  • Ingrid Schoon Underlying components -
    personality measures (big five) optimism, goal
    orientation, self-efficacy, gratitude. Potential
    overlap of Big Five and Satisfaction.
  • - values, agency
  • - satisfaction (life, job, relationship,
    domain), wellbeing
  • (wave 15 BHPS)
  • - Amanda Sacker attitudes and beliefs (life
    transitions, life choices), might be most
    relevant for young people
  • - aspirations, ambitions (European Social
    Survey, British Cohort Study), 1-5 item scales

Brain Storm Must Areas
  • Langdon cognitive assessments (IQ), IQ powerful
    predictor for life satisfaction, divorce etc.
    Relatively stable related to nearly all
    outcomes (protective and risk factor) put in
    intellectual measure for children, pick up
    delayed children (disability) educational
    potential (underachievement etc.) 2-3 mins. to
    get to g-factor. Mazes. Ability to train
    interviewer. Possible issue with language many
    tests are language-specific. Measure in
    childhood, adulthood, and senior (gt55).
  • Cognitive adults, transmission, assortive
    mating degenerative conditions (ageing)
    prospective memory, social outcome (e.g.
    employment etc.) household, effect of decline
    of others in household. Age group 55

Brain Storm Must Areas
  • Cognitive continued spot the word test (Alan
    Baddeley) digit span (not culture free) visual
    spatial skills.
  • Basic skills literacy (functional), numeracy
    (standard set of 5 items in cohort studies)
  • Ingrid Schoon Stress and tension daily
    hassles, conflict, life events chaos YUK scale
  • Sarah Woods DW Domestic violence, bullying
    (home, school, work, neighbours, online,
    siblings), towards older people, conflicts in the
    household. 6-items for bullying
  • Ingrid Schoon Social inclusion (bonding,
    bridging) within and outside world, social
    support not every year attachment within
    family, financial and emotional problems, network

  • Amanda Roberts Normal eating, diet, obesity
    variety and exposure (food frequency) regular
    mealtimes, eating disorder, exposure to food
    during childhood, diet restricted by finances,
    cook themselves
  • Andrea Social relationship within the family
    asking about grand parents/parents household
    communication standard scales (Ingrid),
    parenting behaviour, do family members talk about
    1. fears, 2. politics. Communication between
  • Adoption, IVF (genetic relationship).
  • Regional/ethnicity families (wider context
    uncles etc.), interracial relationships
  • Creative abilities
  • Major achievements in life, most proud of
  • Entrepreneurship, leisure activities, pets in the
  • Household au-pairs lodgers

  • Attitudes to the environment
  • Creative abilities (music, other skills)-values
  • Entrepreneurhip/values
  • Hobbies
  • Pets (old people children)
  • Neuromotor/motor development/motor perceptual.
    Measure with mazes, standing on one leg, stepping
    backward, etc.
  • Problem solving
  • Attention regulation (high correlation)
  • Social cognitive functioning, emotion recognition
    (e.g., faces)
  • Moral reasoning
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Decision making (household decision making)
  • Perception of risk/ statistical reasoning

Brain Storm Must Areas
  • Locus of control, lifestyle
  • Happiness, wellbeing
  • Mindfulness, empathy, sympathy

Most important
  • Sexual orientation (highly stable)?! Once to
    measure later wave
  • Measures to be repeated to go in wave 1 most
    crucial for prediction
  • Cognitive, literacy
  • Eating
  • Stress
  • IQ particularly important for kids and older
  • Literacy for adults, life satisfaction

The end - unpressured
  • END

Core Measures Initial UKHLS Focus
  • Personality Social Skills
  • Describing personality characteristics (normal
    variation) or social relationships/inclusion
    (e.g. bullying and exclusion)
  • Cognitive Capital
  • Globally or specific (IQ or specific skills)
  • Both, particular interest in understanding
    Vulnerability, Resilience and Protective factors
    (e.g. labour participation, income potential,
    family planning)

Longitudinal Research Assessments 60 years apart
Deary, I. J., Whiteman, M. C., Starr, J. M.,
Whalley, L. J., Fox, H. C. (2004). The Impact
of Childhood Intelligence on Later Life
Following Up the Scottish Mental Surveys of 1932
and 1947. Journal of Personality Social
Psychology, 86(1), 130-147.
Childhood IQ and Longevity (Inter-individual
change in intra-individual Development)
Non-core Funding
  • Romantic Relationships and Sexual Relationships
  • (Relevance teenage sex, STIs to quality of
    partner relationship, divorce and household
  • Achievement (e.g. educational vs. potential)
  • Socio-emotional processing (social cognition)
  • Motor and Perceptual Skills

Evaluation Criteria
  • EXAMPLE Working Memory (WM)
  • Theoretical relevance WM is linked in childhood
    and adolescence with several core cognitive
    processes (e.g., language abilities, theory of
    mind, reasoning skills, etc) and in older
    adulthood with the decline of several other
    cognitive processes (e.g., inhibition, strategy
    use, source monitoring, etc).
  • Household context impact of diet, video gaming,
  • Longitudinal relevance generational effects
    impact of drug use

Evaluation Criteria
  • Variability WM exhibits robust individual
    differences across the lifespan.
  • Proposed measure backward digit span? common and
  • Administration via computer or trained
  • Respondent demand simple
  • Duration approx. 5 min.
  • Frequency every 10 yrs?
  • Cost none
  • Non-invasive Yes

(No Transcript)
  • At wave 2 of UKHLS (wave 19 of BHPS), the BHPS
    sample will become part of UKHLS
  • Expected that BHPS will use new questionnaire
    from that point (with very limited modification
    to preserve some measurement continuity)
  • Development process recognised importance of
    comparability with BHPS so likely to be
    significant use of BHPS questions in UKHLS
  • But, likely that a high proportion of BHPS
    questions will not be included, or will be asked
    less frequently

BHPS Measures
  • Personality
  • Attitudes
  • antisocial behaviour/crime
  • education