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  • Author or Editor: Lisa Kelly x
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Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) is the national longitudinal study of children and young people in the Republic of Ireland and has followed two cohorts for over ten years to date: Cohort ’98 who were recruited into the study at age nine years and Cohort ’08, recruited at age nine months. The study aims to describe the lives of Irish children and young people in terms of their development, with a view to positively affecting policies and services available for them. Traditionally, data collection involved in-home visits from an interviewer who conducted face-to-face interviews, recorded physical measurements of study participants and administered cognitive assessments. However, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions, significant adaptations were required to these methods to ensure data collection for the pilot and main fieldwork for Cohort ’08 at age 13 could continue to the expected timeline. Face-to-face interviews with participants were replaced with telephone and web-based modes, interviewer training was conducted online, online resources were made available for interviewers and participants and COVID-19 related items were added to questionnaires. In addition to the scheduled data collection, a special COVID-19 survey was also conducted on both GUI cohorts in December 2020 to explore the impact of the pandemic on participants’ lives. This paper outlines the adaptations made to traditional data collection methods in GUI, highlighting the challenges that were met, but also the benefits of some changes that may be worth incorporating into future waves of GUI.

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This chapter reviews the circumstances of birth for babies born at the start of the 21st century. It outlines the initial conditions of life for this new generation. This chapter considers the family into which a new baby is born — in particular it looks at parents and their relationships, siblings and the wider kin. Then, it examines the ethnic identities and the religion of parents, and their own languages and national and cultural heritages. The health of parents is another important element of the ‘endowment set’ for cohort babies which may affect the extent to which parents can provide effective care for the baby. Finally, the chapter describes the housing conditions and neighbourhood context in which these families live.

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The Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) provides data from mothers and fathers about their involvement with their new baby and in family life, uniquely, for a very large sample of UK fathers. This chapter first examines the effect of the baby. It looks on an under-researched group — fathers — as they appear in the existing literature, followed by a report on the division of domestic work between mothers and fathers. The discussion then presents what the survey finds about fathers’ involvement with the cohort child, irrespective of whether they are living in the same home. It also reviews parenting beliefs and attitudes as well as the overlaps in mothers’ and fathers’ views about parenting, and some of the mothers’ feelings about having a new baby.

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