Child/Young Adult Documentation

Child/Young Adult Documentation

In addition to this online User's Guide, a number of documentation items are provided to help users understand the Child and Young Adult data. Except for the Codebook, which is accessed through the NLS Investigator search and extraction Web program, all of these items are available within the child section of this website. Additional assistance is available through NLS User Services.


The NLSY79 Child and Young Adult (and main Youth) data files are each documented by a codebook that lists each variable and briefly describes its content. Each variable has a codebook page that contains the variable's unique reference number, coding categories for the variable, frequency distributions, minimum and maximum values, and any special notes. Entries for questionnaire items also contain links to the previous and next question in the instrument. The hyperlinked reference numbers that appear in codebook entries for created variables simply take the user to the next item in the list, generally within the area of interest. Users can review codebook pages for variables of interest through NLS Investigator, and extracts of variables include a custom codebook file containing codebook pages for all variables in the extract. For more information, see the NLS Investigator Users Guide.

Child and Young Adult Survey Instruments

Since most of the constructed variables and test scores found within the Child data set are derived directly from one or more survey instruments, users should have access to at least one set of questionnaires. Copies of the Child and Young Adult questionnaires and interview aids are available in either PDF or HTML format on the Questionnaires page. This page has links to the following questionnaires:

  • Child Supplement (CS): public user version of the Child Supplement questionnaire (paper and CAPI); contains the interviewer-administered assessments
  • Child Self-Administered Supplement (CSAS): public user version of the self-report questionnaire for children age 10-14; administered on paper, PDA or laptop
  • Mother Supplement (MS): public user version of the maternal report questionnaire for each child; contains the mother-report assessments
  • Young Adult Questionnaire: public user version of the Young Adult CAPI questionnaire
  • Child School Survey Principal Questionnaire: paper questionnaire about school characteristics completed by school principal for each child in the 1995-1996 NLSY79 Child School Survey
  • Child School Survey Schooling Questionnaire: paper questionnaire completed by school personnel about each child in the 1995-1996 NLSY79 Child School Survey

NLS Bibliographies

NLS User Services maintains an annotated, searchable archive of NLS research online at Records of more than 9,000 journal articles, working papers, monographs, reports, presentations, theses, and dissertations are available for users to search, retrieve, and print customized listings of NLS research. CHRR periodically compiles listings of research based on the NLSY79 child data. Some of these bibliographies are listed under Child Survey Resources on the Research/Technical Reports page.

Other Documentation 

In addition to the codebooks, variable descriptions, search indices, and items described above, CHRR provides the following materials to users as additional documentation for the NLSY79 Child and Young Adult data:

  • NLSY79 Child Handbooks 1986-1992 (detailed information about the NLSY79 Child assessments and supplementary information about sample constraints in previous survey rounds)
  • Child Assessment Tables reports (tabular summaries of assessment scores for survey rounds from 1994 to the present)

These handbooks and assessment tables reports are available on the Research/Technical Reports page.

User Notes & Errata

Periodically CHRR provides users with updates to the existing data or documentation. Notes are sometimes prepared that clarify certain elements of the current files. This information is compiled into a list of Errata posted to the Child & Young Adult website. Updates to previous data rounds are noted in the documentation for those rounds. Users are strongly encouraged to consult the errata page as they are working on their research projects to ensure that they are aware of any notices that may affect variables of interest.

NLS User Services

Additional help is available through the NLS User Services staff. Please direct all questions and comments related to the NLSY79 Child and Young Adult surveys to:

NLS User Services
Center for Human Resources Research (CHRR)
921 Chatham Lane, Suite 200
Columbus, OH  43221-2418 USA

Phone: (614) 442-7366