Home > Growing Up in Ireland. Research needs for wave 5: age 25.

Smyth, Emer and Murray, Aisling and McNamara, Eoin and O’Mahony, Desmond and Nolan, Adam and Duggan, Brendan and Shaw, James (2022) Growing Up in Ireland. Research needs for wave 5: age 25. Dublin: ESRI; Trinity College Dublin; Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. Cohort '98 report 10.

PDF (Growing up in Ireland. Research needs for wave 5: age 25)

Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) is the national longitudinal study of children and youth. Beginning in 2006, it recruited two cohorts of children: aged 9 years and 9 months at first interview for Cohorts ’98 and ’08, respectively. After the first interview at age 9 years, these participants were followed up at age 13, 17/18 and 20 years. Additionally, they were asked to complete a special COVID survey online in December 2020 when they would have been around 22 years old. Prior to this COVID survey, at least one parent was interviewed along with the young person at the centre of the study; data collection took place primarily face-to-face in participants’ homes.  

This research needs report is intended to inform the nature and content of the fifth wave of data collection at 25 years of age for Cohort ’98. The report draws on a range of sources in developing proposals for the wave. These include:

  • A focused review of the international literature and short review papers prepared by three labourmarket experts at the ESRI
  • A review of the content of comparable international cohort studies
  • An overview of the relevant policy landscape
  • A survey of the Growing Up in Ireland Scientific Advisory Group and relevant policy stakeholders to capture their perspectives on the priorities for the next wave of data collection
  • Focus groups with adults in their mid-20s to explore what they saw as important in the next wave
  • A consultation session with policymakers and academics to outline the findings emerging from the survey and focus groups and discuss the priorities regarding questions/measures 

This report is mainly structured according to core areas of research interest: education/training; labourmarket experiences and income; physical health; mental and socio-emotional well-being; relationships; civic engagement; concerns and aspirations. These are supplemented by additional chapters describing the background to the study, summarising work by other similar studies, data collection options, and describing the extensive consultation period undertaken in advance of this report. 

P.12 Health: Questions on perceived health and health service usage as well as physical activities and sexual health included in previous waves are retained for longitudinal consistency and policy relevance. The detailed diet questions are deemed of medium priority and replaced by a shorter set of items on consumption of particular foodstuffs that are considered to more closely capture aspects of a healthy diet. It is suggested that the main questions on smoking, alcohol and drugs be retained, but related questions on attempted reduction and reasons for taking substances are deemed of medium priority and the questions on where they drink/take drugs are dropped. New questions are suggested on sleep, dental care (previously asked at 17/18), attempts to lose weight, having an eating disorder, having had COVID-19, vaccination status and impact of the pandemic. 

Mental and socioemotional health: Key questions on self-esteem, crime victimisation, life satisfaction, depression and anxiety, and self-harm have been retained for longitudinal consistency as well as policy relevance. Questions on identity as an adult have been dropped, as have personality traits. Risk-taking behaviour, satisfaction with life domains, energy/vitality and coping strategies are deemed of medium priority because they rate less highly in terms of the selection criteria than other aspects of socio-emotional health. Aggression has been deemed of medium priority due to relatively low levels at 20. In response to the consultation process, a new scale on changes in outlook has been included to capture shifts in response to the pandemic. A question on adverse life events from 17/18 years has been included to allow researchers to distinguish the impact of the pandemic from that of other life events. 

P.43 c. Health behaviours and promotion Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery: a health-led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017- 2025 (DH, 2017) commits to a health-led policy approach towards drug and alcohol use, with the goal of reducing harm and promoting rehabilitation and recovery. The policy document highlights that supports should be targeted at young people living with family members who have substance use problems (DH, 2017: 12), and at improving access to services for people with complex needs. These include long-term substance users, people with co-morbid mental health and substance-use problems, members of minority ethnic communities and LGBTI+ people (ibid.: 44). Growing Up in Ireland data could identify patterns of substance use by gender and among subgroups, while previously collected data on Growing Up in Ireland participants and their families could help to identify potential risk factors, such as drug use among parents of participants or experience of adverse childhood events…

p.91 Gambling: The age 20 questions on gambling are continued, and ranked as of high priority, given the importance of this policy issue and the possibility of new legislation being introduced by the next wave of data collection.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
All substances, Behavioural addiction
Intervention Type
Screening / Assessment
May 2022
Identification #
Cohort '98 report 10
269 p.
ESRI; Trinity College Dublin; Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Place of Publication
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