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Update Date: 2 April 2023
Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) is a major study following the development of approximately 10,000 young people and their families from all parts of Australia. It is conducted in partnership between the Department of Social Services, the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Australian Bureau of Statistics with advice provided by a consortium of leading researchers. The study began in 2003 with a representative sample of children (who are now teens and young adults) from urban and rural areas of all states and territories in Australia. The study has a multi-disciplinary base, and examines a broad range of research questions about development and wellbeing over the life course in relation to topics such as parenting, family, peers, education, child care and health. It will continue to follow participants into adulthood. The study informs social policy and is used to identify opportunities for early intervention and prevention strategies. Participating families have been interviewed every two years from 2004, and between-wave mail-out questionnaires were sent to families in 2005 (Wave 1.5), 2007 (Wave 2.5) and 2009 (Wave 3.5). The B cohort (“Baby” cohort) of around 5,000 children was aged 0–1 years in 2003–04, and the K cohort (“Kinder” cohort) of around 5,000 children was aged 4–5 years in 2003–04. Study informants include the young person, their parents (both resident and non-resident), carers and teachers. The study links to administrative databases including Medicare (Immunisation, MBS and PBS), NAPLAN, AEDC and Centrelink – with participant consent – thereby adding valuable information to supplement the data collected during fieldwork. In 2014-15, a special one-off physical health and biomarkers assessment of parent-child pairs was undertaken in the younger cohort. The cross-generational datasets from this ‘Child Health CheckPoint’ are available in the Additional Release files. LSAC Wave 9 (aka 9C) covered the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young persons, their families and communities. Wave 9C was unlike any other wave undertaken by LSAC. Instead of the traditional face-to-face methodology, the data collection was split into two shorter online surveys (9C1 and 9C2), with Survey 9C2 also offering a telephone interview option. Two short survey in Wave 9C allows measurement of similarities and differences in responses as COVID-19 restrictions changed over time. Survey 9C1 was in field October–December 2020 and Survey 9C2 was in-field June–September 2021.