Social Research Methods and Research Practices > Social Research Methods
A large-scale crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, has the potential to affect non-response in cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys. This study utilises a longitudinal survey, conducted prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic, to examine the factors associated with participation in longitudinal surveys during the COVID-19 period, and how this has changed from prior to the pandemic. We find that a number of demographic groups are more likely to be non-responders to COVID-19 surveys, despite having completed pre-COVID surveys, as well as a number of other economic and personality factors. Reassuringly though, there were many more factors that did not have an association. The findings also highlight that two simple questions (with a low time cost) on subjective survey experience early in the pandemic were highly useful in predicting future survey participation. These findings can help to support survey practitioners and data collection companies to develop more robust response improvement strategies during the COVID-19 period.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unexpected disruptions to Western countries which affected women more adversely than men. Previous studies suggest that gender differences are attributable to: women being over-represented in the most affected sectors of the economy, women’s labour market disadvantage as compared to their partners, and mothers taking a bigger share childcare responsibilities following school closures. Using the data from four British nationally representative cohort studies, we test these propositions. Our findings confirm that the adverse labour market effects were still experienced by women a year into the COVID-19 pandemic and that these effects were the most severe for women who lived with a partner and children, even if they worked in critical occupations. We show that adjusting for pre-pandemic job characteristics attenuates the gaps, suggesting that women were over-represented in jobs disproportionately affected by COVID-19 pandemic. However, the remaining gaps are not further attenuated by adjusting for the partner’s job and children characteristics, suggesting that the adversities experienced by women were not driven by their relative labour market position, as compared to their partners or childcare responsibilities. The residual gender differences observed in the rates of active, paid work and furlough for those who live with partner and children point to the importance of unobserved factors such as social norms, preferences, or discrimination. These effects may be long-lasting and jeopardise women’s longer-term position through the loss of experience, leading to reinforcement of gender inequalities or even reversal of the progress towards gender equality.
A household’s financial satisfaction is one of the most significant factors driving subjective well-being. However, Poland ranks close to the lowest position, 22nd out of the 28 EU members, in self-reported financial status. The paper investigates the problem of determining patterns of Polish households’ behaviour and shows the evolution of the subjective assessment of financial situation based on the eight waves of the Polish Household panel data. The analysis is carried out on the basis of latent Markov (LM) models, which allow for socio-economic features affecting the parameters of the latent process. We compare different types of LM models considering: (1) different numbers of latent structures; (2) different types of the latent process constraints; (3) socio-economic background characteristics; and (4) survey weights (being excluded in most of the empirical analyses). The final model identifies three latent states, specifies common initial and transition probabilities over a 15-year period and, as a result, enables us to better characterise the families likely to change their position, especially families reporting worsening in their financial situation. To show the main direction of self-reporting financial condition, we present the predicted path for respondents characterised by the selected socio-economic features, relying on algorithm maximising posterior probabilities of the selected LM model.
Working mothers face challenges in pursuing their career aspirations due to work–family conflict. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has posed added challenges for working mothers by increasing care demands while also causing numerous health, economic and social disruptions. In this paper, we examine the impact of COVID-19 on Korean working mothers’ career aspirations. We employ a longitudinal qualitative design by analysing 64 in-depth interviews with 32 mothers of young children in South Korea. By interviewing the same women before (2019) and during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020), we are able to document how working mothers’ career aspirations were impacted by COVID-19. Findings show that all working mothers in the sample experienced increased care demands due to COVID-19. However, the influence of COVID-19 on working mothers’ career aspirations hinged on gendered beliefs related to childcare responsibility. When working mothers believed or were subjected to beliefs that mothers should be the primary caregiver for children (gendered care belief), their career aspirations were tempered or relinquished. On the other hand, those who believed that mothers should not be held solely responsible for childcare (gender egalitarian care belief) continued to pursue their career aspirations or experienced career advancements during COVID-19. Findings suggest that beliefs related to care responsibilities play an important role in working mothers’ pursuit of their career aspirations, and potentially their future careers.
We use individual-level population data to characterise the pathways followed by young people in England who experience custody. We identify a typology of pathways up to age 18 and a separate typology covering ages 19–22. Our results confirm the generally poor prospects among this group, showing 80% to be firmly established as not in employment, education or training (NEET) by age 22. Despite the high level of deprivation in the population considered, prospects are still found to vary with specific markers of disadvantage. Managing to avoid NEET when 16–18 is an important part of the strategy for avoiding NEET when older. This suggests the importance of policy interventions aimed at re-engagement of those who experience custody as a young person.
As a major socio-historical event affecting different aspects of life, the COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique opportunity to study how different population groups adapt. We investigate the impact of this crisis on the evolution of perceived stress in the short and medium term in Switzerland, using data of the Swiss Household Panel from 2016 to early 2021, which include annual measures of perceived stress and a study between waves, conducted in May and June 2020 at the end of the first semi-lockdown. Using the longitudinal structure of the data with pre-crisis measurements, we estimate pooled OLS, fixed effects and first difference models, which include socio-demographic variables, life events, socio-economic status, work-related variables, stress-reducing resources and restrictions in place.
Results for the overall population show a continuous increase in stress levels between 2016 and 2019 and a stress reduction right after the first semi-lockdown followed by a return to pre-pandemic levels. Privileged groups with higher levels of stress before the pandemic were most likely to reduce perceived stress. Characteristics related to more favourable trajectories include stable or improved financial situations and high levels of education (short-term effects), and high-pressure jobs and working hours (short- and medium-term effects). Our analyses reveal the importance of resources, such as social relations and work–life balance, to individuals’ management of the effects of the pandemic.
Our results show that the effects of the pandemic on perceived stress are context-specific. They underline the importance of longitudinal analyses to understand the complexity of vulnerability and adaptation processes.
The purpose of this study is to investigate how well-being changes over the adult life course from early adulthood in 1998 through to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. We identify diverse well-being trajectories over time in a cohort of British Columbians and explore the extent to which changes in well-being associated with the pandemic varied for individuals in these different trajectory groups. Specifically, we ask: what was the effect of the pandemic on the well-being of individuals with different prior well-being trajectories over adulthood and how were these effects related to personal, educational and employment factors? To address this question, we model well-being trajectories over a large span of adulthood from the age of 28 to 51 years old. We find a diversity of distinct patterns in well-being changes over adulthood. The majority experience high well-being over time, while almost one in five experiences either chronically low or drastically decreased well-being in mid-adulthood, which coincides with the pandemic. Notably, those who have completed post-secondary education are less likely to report low well-being trajectories. Those with the lowest well-being over time also report the largest negative effects of the pandemic, which illustrates the compounding effects of the pandemic on existing inequalities.
Research about the Flynn effect, the secular rise in IQ, is heavily based on conscript data from successive male birth cohorts. This inevitably means that two distinct phenomena are mixed: fertility differences by IQ group (‘compositional Flynn effect’), and any difference between parents and children (‘within-family Flynn effect’). Both will influence trends in cognitive ability. We focused on the latter phenomenon, exploring changes in cognitive abilities during adolescence within one generation, and between two successive generations within the same family. We identified determinants and outcomes in three linked generations in the Stockholm Multigenerational Study. School and conscript data covered logical/numerical and verbal scores for mothers at age 13, fathers at 13 and 18, and their sons at 18. Raw scores, and change in raw scores, were used as outcomes in linear regressions. Both parents’ abilities at 13 were equally important for sons’ abilities at 18. Boys from disadvantaged backgrounds caught up with other boys during adolescence. Comparing fathers with sons, there appeared to be a positive Flynn effect in logical/numeric and verbal abilities. This was larger if the father had a working-class background or many siblings. A Flynn effect was only visible in families where the father had low general cognitive ability at 18. We conclude that there is a general improvement in logical/numeric and verbal skills from one generation to the next, primarily based on improvement in disadvantaged families. The Flynn effect in Sweden during the later 20th century appears to represent a narrowing between social categories.
While research has investigated the effects of the Great Recession on the Irish economy using economic indicators or cross-sectional household-level data, this research note applies group-based multitrajectory modelling to provide a more nuanced approach. Using nationally representative, longitudinal data from the Growing Up in Ireland study, we analyse patterns in three common measures of economic well-being (financial strain; disposable income; material deprivation) across Irish households in the period leading up to, during and after the Great Recession, and subsequently, break down the characteristics for each group of trajectories. We identify six distinct trajectory clusters, which all indicate declining income and increasing financial strain from the start to the height of the economic depression. However, trajectory groupings show that experiences were far from uniform, with previous economic well-being and demographic characteristics shaping the household experience. Implications for future research are discussed.