The three longitudinal studies that constitute the Intergenerational Studies (IGS) of the Institute of Human Development (IHD) were initiated in the late 1920s, and the study members represent two birth cohorts: people born in Berkeley in 1928–1929 and people entering an Oakland middle school in 1932 (born in 1920–1921). Data were collected from and about them and their families through adolescence and, subsequently, from them and their spouses, parents, and children.
The 248 original subjects in the Guidance Study (GS) were drawn from a socioeconomic survey of every third birth in Berkeley, California, during the 18 months between January 1, 1928, and June 30, 1929. The focus of the study was behavior problems of preschool children.
Berkeley Growth Study
The Berkeley Growth Study (BGS) was initiated with a sample of 61 healthy, full-term infants born in one of two Berkeley hospitals between September 15, 1928, and May 15, 1929, to white, English-speaking parents. The study was designed to trace normal intellectual, motor, and physical development in the first year of life.
Oakland Growth Study
Recruited for the Oakland Growth Study (OGS) (initially called the Adolescent Growth Study) were 212 youngsters from five elementary schools in Oakland, California, who intended to attend the junior high school selected as the center of observation for the research. The subjects ranged in age from 10 to 12 at the time of initial data collection in 1932. The focus of the OGS was normal adolescent development, especially physical, physiological, and social.
During the first 18 months of the subjects’ lives, data were collected by staff of the Berkeley survey. Preand perinatal data were obtained from physicians, hospitals, and mothers. From the infant’s 3rd through 18th month, a public health nurse visited the home every 3 months to collect data on height, weight, health, diet, and behavior. Parents provided information about their health histories and the health histories of their parents as well as detailed demographic and socioeconomic data on the family at the time of the child’s birth.
Data collection by GS staff and the institute began when the study members were 21 months old. The subjects were assessed regularly for physical and intellectual development, and their mothers provided information about the subjects’ habits, interpersonal behaviors, interests, and personality. Interviews with the children on the same topics began when they were 6 years old. In addition, school performance and other behavioral data were collected from teachers, and social and personality data were collected with sociometric measures, projective tests, and interest and vocational inventories.
Berkeley Growth Study
During the subjects’ first 4 days of life, physical, physiological, and neurological assessments were done. The subjects were assessed frequently through age 3 and less frequently in later childhood and adolescence. At all visits, subjects were rated on personality traits and behaviors, and narrative notes were made about their behaviors, attitudes, and reports of events in their lives. In addition, projective tests and leisure-time, interest, personality, and vocational inventories were included on an irregular schedule.
Oakland Growth Study
The data primarily are (a) responses to self-report questionnaires devoted to personality, attitudes, interests, and activities; and (b) ratings of subjects’ characteristics by study staff based on observation of the subjects in various situations.
In the early 1960s, the first steps were taken toward collaborative planning for the three studies. Despite considerable differences in stated objectives and data collection, the staff of each of the studies had secured rich data on adolescent development and reasonably comparable data on early adulthood, including data on occupational involvement, marriage and children, relations with parents, social attitudes, and intellectual and emotional status.
Subjects in the three longitudinal studies participated in data collection as adults prior to the first of the integrated data-collection efforts. In the most comprehensive of these recalls, the GS subjects were 30 years old, the BGS subjects were 36–37, and the OGS subjects were 37–38. Between 1969 and 1972, GS and OGS subjects were seen in the first consolidated data collection. The second consolidated data collection took place report between 1981 and 1983 and consisted of interviews, cognitive assessment sessions, collection of physical information, and self-administered questionnaires.
The three longitudinal studies that constitute the Intergenerational Studies of the IHD at the University of California at Berkeley provide a wealth of demographic data, personality data, data about parents and families of origin, data concerning attitudes and behavior, physical and medical data, and cognitive assessment data about participants. For more information, contact the longitudinal studies’ archivist at IHD or the director of the institute. The address is 1203 Toldman Hall-1690, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1690.
- Harvard University Description of Intergenerational Longitudinal Studies, http://www.radclifedu/documents/ murray/0627StudyDescription.pdf
- Institute of Human Development at University of California, Berkeley, http://ihd.berkeley.edu/hm2.htm