All the latest news, publications and events in GUS News May 2016


We are pleased to announce that ScotCen Social Research have been commissioned to undertake another round of face to face interviews with our ‘Birth Cohort 1’.  These interviews will begin in early 2017, when the young people are in their first year of secondary school.

To help identify the topics for this S1 ‘sweep’ of data collection, the Scottish Government are hosting a questionnaire development workshop on the morning of Monday 11th April at Victoria Quay in Edinburgh. This will also be an opportunity consider topics for a possible sweep in S3 that would begin in 2019 and to hear about long-term strategic plans for the study.

Places at the event will be limited. Our priority is to involve those who would like to make an active contribution to the design of the study.  To register your interest in attending please e-mail David Dey at under the title ‘GUS questionnaire workshop’. Please include a sentence about how you envisage using GUS data from these future sweeps and which organisation or interest you’ll be representing.  The closing date for registering an interest is Friday 26th February. Places will be confirmed by Friday 11th March.


GUS Birth Cohort 1 Parents Questionnaire 2017

We have answered some of the questions you may have about the online questionnaire.  You can take part by clicking the link above.

Who is carrying out the study?

The study is conducted by ScotCen Social Research on behalf of the Scottish Government. We work in collaboration with academic researchers from the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, based at Edinburgh University, and the MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, at Glasgow University.

How does this stage of the survey differ from previous stages?

Previously one of our interviewers visited you in your home but this time round we’d like you to complete an online questionnaire. This will only take 10 minutes to complete.  As in previous years, the questions will be about you and your child.

What will happen to any information I give?

All the information you give us is treated in strict confidence under the Data Protection Act 1998.  The results collected are used for research purposes only.

Is the information I provide safe online?

We take our responsibility to keep your personal information secure very seriously.  To make sure your information is protected we use a secure website (HTTPS). This is the same type of website that you would generally see when shopping online. As part of our commitment to the security of your information, ScotCen Social Research has regular internal and external audits of its information security, and is accredited to the International Standard for Information Security, ISO 27001:2005.

I don’t have or I have lost the “access code” to get into the questionnaire.

No problem, you can either call the freephone helpline on 0800 652 2704 or email us at

Can I complete the survey on my smartphone/tablet?

Yes, the questionnaire can be completed using a desktop or laptop computer, a smartphone or a tablet device. You just need to be connected to the internet.

Do I have to complete the questionnaire in one go?

It should only take 10 minutes to complete, but if you are interrupted and need to exit the questionnaire then you will be able to return to where you left off. The questionnaire will be saved automatically, so you can close your internet browser and return to complete it at a more convenient time. To regain access to the questionnaire, just follow the initial instructions in your letter/email and you will return to where you left off.

The questionnaire timed out.

To protect the confidentiality of your answers, the questionnaire is closed down if it is left for a period of time. Your answers will have been saved so you can log back in using the instructions in your letter/email as before and you will be returned to the point where you left off.

I don’t know how to use computers / I don’t want to do the questionnaire online.

If you are unable to complete the questionnaire online please let us know either by email or call us free on 0800 652 2704.

I have completed my questionnaire, but you still sent me a reminder.

Thank you for taking part!  It might be that you completed the questionnaire after we had checked our records and sent out the reminder.  We apologise, but we will have safely received you answers.

Will an interviewer visit us again?

Yes. The face-to-face interviews are still really important and your interviewer will be in contact again once your child is a bit older.

Will you be contacting me by email from now on?

We find email a really handy way to stay in touch, and so do many people who take part in Growing Up in Scotland. So, unless you’d prefer not to, we’d like to keep in contact using emails alongside our letters from now on. If you’d rather not be contacted by email, just let us know.

Where can I find out more?

Email us on or phone us (free) on 0800 652 2704.  Our website also provides information about the study or you can follow us on Twitter @growingupinscot


Around one third of the older children taking part in GUS have recently started Primary 6, and we are interested in finding out how they are getting on at school.

Parents and children have given us their consent to contact the child’s teacher. Teachers will be asked to complete a short on-line questionnaire

Teachers – please help us by completing the questionnaires!

More information and FAQ



Our new report ‘Tackling Inequalities in the Early Years: Key messages from 10 years of the Growing Up in Scotland study’ was launched yesterday at an event to celebrate 10 years of the study.

Download the report here

View our animation that highlights some of the key findings


Our new report ‘Growing Up in Scotland: The Circumstances and Experiences of 3-year-old children living in Scotland in 2007/08 and 2013’ was published on 6 October 2015.

Download the report here


We are now 10 years old! This year at our annual conference we will reflect on key findings from the first 10 years. We will also launch new findings that compare the experiences and outcomes of children in both birth cohorts at age 3 years and we will hear from the Scottish Government about how GUS is helping to make Scotland the best place to grow up.

For more information, go to our Events page.



Our researchers based at the University of Glasgow have had an article published in the Journal of Family Psychology. ‘Parenting Stress and Parent Support Among Mothers with High and Low Education’ by Alison Parkes, Helen Sweeting and Daniel Wight uses data from our Birth Cohort 2 families to look at how stress varies amongst different groups of parents and how stress levels are related to differences in the levels of support available to families.

Key points

The researchers wanted to find if out the stress associated with bringing up children is different for parents with different educational backgrounds.  They also wanted to find out to what extent deficits in support are related to parenting stress.

Other research has suggested that parenting stress is greater among parents from both low and high socioeconomic positions (SEP) because of material hardship among parents of low SEP and because of employment demands among parents of high SEP.

Using data from GUS Birth Cohort 2 when the children were aged 10 months, the researchers found that maternal parenting stress is indeed higher among both the most and least educated mothers, compared with mothers who have intermediate level education.  They also found that high parenting stress is more likely for migrant families (where parents were born outside of Scotland) and for single-parent families.

In terms of support from grandparents, both high educated and lower educated migrants experienced less frequent contact with grandparents, since few had grandparents living nearby. However, compared with intermediate SEP families, less frequent contact with grandparents was also seen among low-educated families with parents born in the UK, even though most had grandparents living nearby. A small grandparent network was particularly evident among low-educated single mothers, where one fifth of babies had contact with only one grandparent (typically the maternal grandmother).

High educated parents were more reliant on formal childcare and enjoyed less regular contact with friends, compared with the intermediate group. Lower educated families had smaller grandparent and friend networks, compared with the intermediate group. They were also more likely than other groups to perceive barriers to accessing parenting support from formal professional sources, like Health Visitors.

Further analysis showed that the lack of support from either formal or informal sources explains about half of the parenting stress experienced by both high and lower educated mothers. Less frequent contact with the child’s grandparents helps to explain the higher stress experienced by both groups, with this effect strongest among migrants.

However, the support deficits experienced by both groups differed in other ways. Stress among low- educated mothers was associated with smaller and less effective social support networks whereas stress among higher-educated mothers was associated with less readily accessible informal support from friends and family, despite larger network size and quality.

Reliance on formal childcare was a particular source of stress for high-educated mothers, who were more likely to be in full-time employment than less-educated groups.  Barriers to professional support were most pertinent for low-educated mothers.

These findings suggest that understanding how parenting stress varies between different groups of parents might be enhanced by considering particular groups at risk of low support. By examining how different groups experience parenting stress as a result of low support, outreach programmes and interventions might be targeted to maximise the benefits to different groups of families and to make efficient use of resources.




All the latest news, publications and events in GUS News June 2015


This week our interviewers will start to visit families in our younger group of children (‘Birth Cohort 2’) to ask them to take part in their third interview. At this stage, the children are nearly 5 years old. Main carers will be asked to take part in a face-to-face interview. The children will take part in exercises to look at their language and problem solving skills. They will also have their height and weight measured. This round of visits will take place throughout 2015.

Thanks again to all of the GUS families for taking part. We couldn’t do this research without you! Your information is helping the Scottish Government and all their partners to achieve their aim of making Scotland the best place to grow up.

Click here to find out who is using the new information generated by GUS.

If you are taking part in the study, click here for more information.

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