About GUS

Growing up in Scotland (GUS) is an important longitudinal research study, tracking the lives of thousands of children and their families from birth through to the teenage years and beyond. Launched in 2005, to date, GUS has collected information on three nationally representative cohorts of children:

  • Birth Cohort 1: 5,217 children, born in 2004/05
  • Child Cohort: 2,858 children, born in 2002/03
  • Birth Cohort 2: 6,127 children, born in 2010/11

More recently, in 2017 we selected a further group of around 1,500 children born between June 2004 and May 2005, now aged around 13. These children have been invited to take part in interviews alongside Birth Cohort 1, which is the only cohort being followed at present.

Altogether, information has been collected on around 14,000 children, making GUS the largest longitudinal study of its kind in Scotland. The study provides crucial evidence to help the Scottish Government and others develop policies and services for children and their families. In particular, GUS provides information for the long-term monitoring and evaluation of policies for children, with a specific focus on the early years.

While the main aim of the study is to provide information to support policymaking, it is also intended to be a broader resource that can be drawn on by academics, voluntary sector organisations and other interested parties.

Fields of work

GUS collects a wide range of information about children and their families. The main areas covered include:

  • Cognitive, social, emotional and behavioural development
  • Physical and mental health and wellbeing
  • Childcare, education and employment
  • Home, parenting, family, community and social networks
  • Involvement in offending and risky behaviour

Families have been visited regularly by our trained interviewers to capture information on a range of topics including family circumstances and experiences, child health and development, parenting and support, diet and physical activity, use of services, the local neighbourhood, and experiences of school and pre-school.

Funding and background

The study is funded by the Scottish Government and is carried out by ScotCen Social Research.

Growing Up in Scotland is part of CLOSER. CLOSER, the home of longitudinal research, brings together world-leading longitudinal studies to maximise their use, value and impact and improve our understanding of key social and biomedical challenges.

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