An Overview

The 2010 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) included an interview with the children of NLSY79 mothers who were at least 15 years of age by 12/31/2010, called Young Adults. The primary mode of interview for the 2010 fielding was telephone, with in-person interviews as the secondary mode. The Young Adult fielding began in December 2009, with a concerted effort to complete as many telephone interviews as possible in advance of the face-to-face Youth, Young Adult and Child fielding. 6102 interviews were completed with Young Adult respondents. The Young Adult CAPI questionnaire focuses on the transition to adulthood, with detailed questions on education, employment, training, health, family experiences, attitudes, interactions with other family members, substance use, sexual activity, non-normative activities, computer use, health problems, and prosocial behavior.

The NLSY79 Young Adult survey was first fielded in 1994. Beginning in 1986, data have been collected on the children of the mothers of the NLSY79 cohort. By 1994, there was a large enough number of these children who would be 15 or older by the end of the year, so the Young Adult survey was developed as a way to continue data collection efforts on the children of the NLSY79 mothers. In both 1994 and 1996, children of NLSY79 mothers who would be 15 or older by the end of the survey year were eligible to be interviewed as Young Adults. In the 1998 survey year, a cap was placed on the upper ages of the Young Adults, so that only those children 15 to 20 were interviewed as Young Adults. In 2000, the full sample of eligible Young Adults was again fielded, with no upper age limit imposed; however, approximately 40% of the YAs between 15 and 20 from the black and Hispanic oversample families were not fielded in 2000 for budgetary reasons. These YAs were eligible again to be interviewed in 2002. For the 2004, 2006, and 2008 fieldings, there were also no sample restrictions for age or sample type.

The 2010 fielding of the Young Adult survey marked the beginning of a new administration pattern for older respondents.† From 2010 onward, Young Adult respondents will be interviewed biennially until the survey round in which they turn 29/30 and interviewed quadrennially thereafter.† Because of the structure of the Young Adult sample, some respondents were interviewed as Young Adults for the first time in 2010, some were last interviewed in 2008, and some have been last interviewed as Young Adults prior to 2008. One integrated survey instrument accommodated all Young Adult respondents and had internal skips and text fills to make sure that each respondent was filtered through the appropriate set of questions, based on age, date of last interview, gender, information provided in past surveys, and answers given in the current survey.

Many questions in the Young Adult survey parallel those asked of their mothers over the years, particularly when their mothers had been at comparable life cycle points.† However, the Young Adult survey contains more in-depth data in certain areas such as sexual activity, drug use, schooling activities, attitudes, and marriage and cohabitation histories.†† The 1994 through 1998 questionnaires most closely paralleled the motherís survey, especially in areas relating to jobs.†

The 2000 Young Adult survey underwent a major redesign and differed in a variety of important ways not only from the main Youth questionnaire, but also from the previous Young Adult instruments. The questionnaire was streamlined and adjusted for telephone administration, so that most interviews were under one hour. Additionally, pre-existing information is incorporated into the information sheets for each round to determine branching for each respondentís path through the questionnaire. Branching also occurs throughout the questionnaire based on the answers provided by the respondent. The primary redesign for 2002 involved incorporating, where appropriate, questions directed to the younger young adults that parallel questions they were asked in the Child Survey when they were 10 to 14 years old, as well as the addition of questions concerning weapons in school.

Prior to the 2004 fielding, the Young Adult survey instrument underwent a redesign process to assess the viability of changes in 2000 and 2002 and to assess additional needs. The redesign for 2004 focused on improving data collected on fertility and relationships, which have become increasingly important as this cohort ages. Some suggestions from the 2004 Young Adult Advisory Group were not incorporated until the 2006 redesign effort.

Prior to the 2008 fielding, the Young Adult survey instrument once again underwent a major re-evaluation and redesign. This redesign focused on social psychological issues, job characteristics, and military service, as well as on parenting for both residential and nonresidential children, maternity leave, and relationships. The redesign for the YA2010 survey round included bringing forward information on household members as well as current jobs from the date of last interview, as well as an expansion of questions concerning financial difficulties, perceived fairness in relationships, and gender role item.† Questions about the height and weight of biological children were added.† Additionally, a health module for older Young Adults was started in 2010.† For 2010 and 2012, this module will be asked of all respondents age 29 or older.† The following outline briefly describes the contents of each section of the 2010 Young Adult survey instrument and discusses differences between the main Youth and the Young Adult CAPI instruments. Please note that sections 6 (CPS) and 8 (Gaps) were eliminated after 1998 and are therefore not listed below.

Section 1: Household Interview

The household interview for the Young Adult questionnaire closely parallels that of the NLS main Youth.† Prior to 2010, no pre-existing information was incorporated into this section; however, for 2010 respondents who were interviewed in 2008 had their household information from that round pre-filled.† Each young adult goes through this section, even if the young adult is living in the NLSY79 mother's household. The questionnaire first establishes the type of dwelling that best describes the Young Adultís current usual living arrangement. The survey asks about parental presence and then, if neither parent is present, asks for usual living arrangements. Questions are asked about the identification, gender, age, and relationship to the young adult of each person usually living in the household. A limited amount of information is collected on the type and location of the residence.

Section 2: Family Background

The family background section includes a variety of types of questions depending on each respondentís characteristics. First-time Young Adults are asked to verify their date of birth and self-identify their race and ethnic background. All young adults are asked a migration and residence sequence as well as religious affiliation and attendance. Younger young adults are asked a small number of additional questions about attendance at religious services. There are also some questions about father's presence/absence, his work, education, and race. Respondents are branched in this section based on whether they are living with their mother, with both parents, on their own, or in some other living arrangement as well as on their age and their interview status in past Young Adult rounds. Younger young adults not living with their mother are asked when and why they left home, and all young adults not living with parents are asked the amount of contact they have with their parent(s). In 2006, a new series was introduced to ascertain biological relatedness among NLSY79 Child/YA siblings; this series remains for young adult respondents who have either never gone through it or who have a new sibling. In 2008, a follow-up question was added for respondents who report some form of Christianity as their religion, to ascertain whether or not they consider themselves born-again/evangelical Christian.

Section 3: Dating and Relationship History

This section of the questionnaire collects detailed marriage/cohabitation histories, with comparable series for spouses and partners. Information is updated for Young Adults who were married, separated or cohabiting at their last interview point. For all other respondents, the Young Adult first establishes either an initial relationship history or updates since the date of last interview. This YA section asks more detail about current spouses and partners than does main Youth. For YAs with current spouses or partners, there is a short section on the spouse/partnerís employment as well as a 14-item series on relationship quality; since 2004, questions about the household division of labor and financial enmeshment have also asked. In 2010, questions about the perceived fairness of the household division of labor and about decision-making were added.† For some respondents, a number of questions are asked about current dating. Respondents are branched to various points in this section based on age, past interview status, and marital status.

Several new questions about relationships were added to the YA2008. For respondents reporting either a marriage or cohabitation since the date of last interview, questions about how long they were romantically involved before living together and, for cohabitations, how long they planned before moving in together. For respondents without a current spouse or partner, questions were added about whether they plan to marry or cohabit (again) and, if so, how likely that will occur in the next two years. All respondents were asked about their attitudes towards personally having children within non-martial cohabiting relationships; a comparable general question was also included in the Attitudes section.

Section 4: Regular Schooling

This section collects information about enrollment status, school experiences, and educational aspirations. First time respondents, unless they already have a HS diploma, answer core questions about repeating or skipping grades and dropping out. Additionally, there are special questions on (1) school quality and time spent on homework, as well as practices used by teachers and parental involvement, for people currently in grades 1-12, (2) activities after school and during the summer, also for people currently in grades 1-12, (3) the use of career planning or college preparation services by people who are high school seniors or above, (4) the names of colleges and/or universities applied to for respondents in twelfth grade or first year in college, and (5) the type of school and program and financial assistance for college students. For both colleges applied to and college attending/attended, the structure of the questions have been changed, so that a series of questions, beginning with the state, allows the interviewer to identify a college or university precisely from a database. This college finder is similar to the school finder already used for middle and high schools. Respondents are branched throughout this section according to both enrollment status and highest grade completed. Older respondents who were mid-degree at their last interview point will be asked about degree completion.

Section 5: Military and Military Training

This section establishes a history of military service, with detailed questions asked about up to two periods of service. This section is similar to the military section in the NLS main Youth; however, the questions in the Young Adult ask greater detail about military jobs and training. This section determines which branches the Young Adult has been sworn into and the time period of service. There are also questions which ask about the most recent military job and training. The Young Adult is asked about schooling prior to and during their service. Beginning in 2002, there are targeted questions for reservists to determine whether they have ever been called into active duty and, if so, when. Since 2008, young adults have been asked about experiences either working as a civilian or being deployed in a foreign country during a combat period. In 2010, a new sequence about service-connected disabilities was added.† All YAs over age 16 are asked the initial question, with those answering yes asked for information about their experience.

Section 7: Jobs and Employer Supplements

Beginning in 2000, the jobs and employer supplements sections of the Young Adult were redesigned and integrated into one looped section, so that all questions concerning a particular employer are asked before any information about a subsequent employer is asked. Interviews were instructed to begin with the current or most recent job the respondent has had and to proceed backwards in time. If multiple jobs are currently or were most recently held, the interviewer was instructed to probe for the job with the greatest number of hours worked per week to determine the first job entered. For the first time in 2010, the names and descriptions from the current job at the 2008 interview date will be prefilled, and respondents will be asked questions to follow-up on these jobs.† The questions are designed to determine if one of these jobs is the current or most recent job where the respondent worked the most hours.† For respondents with no pre-filled jobs or for whom a pre-filled job is not the current or most recent job with the most hours, interviewers must probe to make sure that they establish the primary job.

Information is collected on all jobs held since the date of the last interview, which for some respondents can date back to 1994. The section is designed so that the greatest detail is asked of the current or most recent job. For all subsequent jobs, a smaller set of questions are asked. In 2008, a question ascertaining whether a job was temporary or permanent was added for all jobs, and a sequence about supervisory responsibility was added for the primary job only. These new additions to the employer supplement sequence were derived from the NLSY79. For jobs of short duration or less than ten hours a week, only employer name, start and stop dates, and hours are asked.

Beginning in 2002, questions added to this section made it easier to report the kinds of jobs some teenagers have, such as baby-sitting on lawn mowing. At the beginning of the section, young adults under age 19 will be asked clarifying questions to determine whether they have worked only these kinds of jobs, only more regular jobs, both kinds, or neither. They are thenrouted to appropriate questions according to their answers.

Section 9: Last Job Lasting Two Weeks or More

This short section is designed to collect a small amount of employment information from respondents who are not on active duty in the military and who do not report working at any jobs since their date of last interview (see Section 7, Jobs and Employer Supplements). For respondents who are not initially skipped out of this section, we try to determine if and when they have had a regular job for pay lasting two or more weeks.

Section 10: First Significant Job after Leaving School

This section attempts to identify the first job a respondent had after leaving high school. Only first-time respondents who have left school prior to the date of their motherís last interview are branched into this section. The respondent had to work at this job for at least 2 months and at least 20 hours a week in order to be eligible for detailed questions in this section. A limited number of job characteristics are asked about, including: start date, stop date, kind of business or industry, kind of work the respondent did, hours per week, and usual earnings.

Section 11: Other Training

This section collects information about training received outside of regular schooling or the military. From 1994 through 1998, detailed questions are asked about multiple training programs. From 2000 to 2006, these questions were asked only of the current or most recent training program, if applicable. Respondents are asked to identify the type of training and the duration of the program, as well as the source of money to pay for the training. Respondents are then asked for a total number of additional training programs they have attended either ever or since the date of last interview. The Young Adult questionnaire also asks about certificates, licenses and journeyman's cards. Beginning in 2008, the only questions retained in the Training section are those pertaining to certificates, licenses and journeyman's cards. Younger young adults who are still in high school do not enter this section.

Section 12: Fertility

The fertility section of the Young Adult parallels that in main Youth in some ways. However, in the Young Adult fertility section, no information is collected about non-biological children and female respondents are not asked about other pregnancies not ending in a live birth, with the exception of first pregnancies. Female respondents who have not reported a pregnancy in the past are asked if they have ever been pregnant and, if so, when. The fertility section includes two paths for collecting fertility information about live births. Previously interviewed Young Adults are asked to verify and update their fertility information, as is done for main Youth respondents. Respondents who are Young Adults for the first time in the current survey round have their complete fertility record collected. The respondent identifies each child either ever born or born since the last interview and answers questions regarding the childís residence and contact with each parent. Beginning in 2000, YA respondents who did not live with their children were asked about monetary contributions to each childís upbringing. In 2004, a comparable series was added for the other parent, if the child resides with only the YA. Also added for YAs with spouse/partners were questions about whether the spouse or partner had children from other relationships and, if so, what their ages were. Female respondents are asked a limited number of questions about the pregnancy, the birthweight and length of the child when born, medical visits during the first year due to sickness or injury, well baby care, and breastfeeding for either all pregnancies or pregnancies since the last interview. Both males and female respondents are asked about wantedness and health insurance for their children, as well as a short series on attitudes toward parenting. Beginning in 2010, male respondents were also asked the birth weight of their children.† All respondents are asked about how many children they expect to have.

Several new question series were added to the fertility section in 2008. Both male and female respondents were asked about the residence of each of their children immediately after birth and their relationship to the other biological parent at that time. For female respondents, a new sequence on work experiences around the birth of each child was added; these questions were modeled after the 1983 maternity leave questions in the NLSY79. In 2008, these series were asked retrospectively about all children. Both sets of questions will remain in the questionnaire for future rounds, but will be asked only of children for whom these data have not been previously collected. Additionally, a series of questions about co-parenting were added into the residence sequence in the fertility section. This series is designed to be asked each round about each child. Some questions about parenting behaviors toward noncoresidential children were also added to the residence sequence. These questions were also added into the Children in the Household section, where extensive parenting items were already being asked about coresidential children. These newly added parenting behavior items were adapted from the NLSY97.† Beginning in 2010, information about the height and weight of all children has been collected.

Section 13: Children in the Household

Called the Child Care section from 1994 to 2002, this section originally focused on the child care arrangements for all children tied to the Young Adult respondent, whether biological, step, adopted or partnerís. The focus gradually shifted from child care arrangements to the home environment. In 2000 and 2002, questions were asked only about the youngest child in the household, with the first series of questions in this section concerning parenting behavior, modeled after questions in the HOME section of the NLSY79 Mother Supplement, and the second series about child care arrangements. Beginning in 2004, the questions concerningspecific child care arrangements were dropped in favor of asking the parenting behavior items of all children in the household. In 2008, some new questions about parenting behaviors, adapted from the NLSY97, were added to improve the detail we have about parenting residential children as well as to provide a comparison to parenting of noncoresidentail children (see discussion in Fertility section above). Since 1994, the Young Adult survey has also asked about total child care expenses for all of the respondent's own and/or spouse's/partner's children who are currently living in the household as well as whether child care difficulties affect employment.

Section 14: Health

The Young Adult health section gathers information on types of limitations, number of accidents and injuries, hospitalizations resulting from these accidents/injuries, height, weight, and insurance coverage. Young Adult respondents who are not in their mother's household are asked additional questions about illnesses and routine medical care. In 2004, a series of questions about asthma and about healthy behaviors were added. In 2006, a series of questions concerning catastrophic events, such as death or imprisonment of a close relative, that might affect respondents was added. In 2008, the two questions related to exercise and time spent using computers from the health section were replaced with a more detailed sequence of three exercise questions and two questions about time spent using computers. For 2010, additional questions about healthy behaviors and routine check-ups were added, along with questions concerning care-giving behavior.† Additionally, a health and cognition module for respondents aged 29 and older was added; this module was modeled after the age 29 module from the NLSY97 with some adjustments and additions to also maintain comparability to the health modules in the NLSY79.

Section 15: Income and Assets

From 1994 to 1998, the income section closely paralleled the main Youth questionnaire but with fewer questions about assets. In 2000, this section was redesigned to streamline the flow of respondents through the section. Nonemancipated respondents are asked only about their own income, their familyís total income, and their sense of financial strain. All Young Adults are asked about income they have received from the military, from wages, salary, commissions, or tips, from their farm, or from non-farm business, partnership, or professional practice. Respondents who have reported employment since the date of last interview are asked if they received unemployment compensation and, if so, they are asked for how many months they received it and how much they received per week for their most recent spell.

Respondents who are married or who have a partner are asked about income received by their spouse or partner from the military, wages, farm, or business. They are also asked whether their spouse received unemployment compensation.

For each of the following types of recipiency, respondents are asked if they and/or their spouse or partner have received it and, if so, for how long and for what amounts. The recipiency categories are: child support; AFDC; food stamps; and supplemental security income, public assistance, or welfare payments. Finally, respondents are asked a limited number of questions about assets, debts, total family income, and financial strain. Questions on assets and debts were expanded in 2006, and a new series concerning financial help with living expenses was also added.† For 2010, additional questions about financial difficulties were added.

Section 16: Attitudes

This section is contains series of questions that have been used in previous rounds of the main Youth and the Young Adult, with skip patterns based on age and interview status. In 2006, all young adults were given the Pearlin Mastery scale, the Rosenberg self-esteem scale, a risk-taking behaviors scale, and a 7-item version of the CES-D depression scale. All young adults also answered a six-item anger scale, developed by Scott Schieman, included for the first time. Beginning in 2004, the youngest young adults were asked the gender role items from the Child Self-administered Supplement. In 2006, respondents were also given the Ten-Item Personality Inventory (TIPI) for the first time. In 2008, the TIPI and the Womenís Roles questions, which have been asked of the mothers and in some earlier Young Adult years, were asked only for those not interviewed in 2006. One additional item, directed to all YAs, asked about the acceptability for cohabiting couples to have children. In 2010, young adults not interviewed in 2008 were given the Pearlin Mastery scale, the Rosenberg self-esteem scale, and a risk-taking scale.† All young adults were given the CES-D depression scale, which was increased to include 11 items, as well as the TIPI, the anger scale, and the Womenís Roles items with three new items included.

Young Adult Self-Report

The Young Adult Self-Report Booklet, originally a paper instrument, was streamlined and integrated into the CAPI questionnaire as part of the 2000 redesign. For telephone administration, the interviewer reads these questions over the phone and records the answers. For in-person interviews, the interviewers turn the laptop around to the respondents. The respondents go through some example questions, then respond to their actual questions, and are then instructed to return the laptop.

This section of the questionnaire includes a wide range of questions about parent/child relationships, computer use, drug and alcohol use, cigarette use, contact with the criminal justice system, sexual activity, and participation in community activities. Because this section has been converted into CAPI, the information sheet for each respondent carries a series of flags to determine what questions will be asked. The branching in this section depends in part on age, past interview status and past and/or current reports of behavior. In 2004, additional questions were asked of young adults in serious but non-cohabiting relationships. In 2006, questions concerning family conflict were introduced.

In the YA2008, some of the political questions, first fielded in 2006, remained the same while some questions were removed and new ones added. The voting behavior question was updated to refer to the 2006 election. Party affiliation and political leaning questions remained the same, but some of the attitudinal and behavioral questions were dropped with others added to replace them. The questions concerning motherís and fatherís politics during childhood were asked only of those new to the sequence in 2008. The sequence of political questions is based on the American National Election Studies (ANES). These political questions are no longer included in the survey.

Other changes for 2008 include the deletion of the detailed questions about what computers were used for and the inclusion of four items designed to measure social networks, adapted from the Midlife Development in the United States survey and the Americansí Changing Lives survey.† For the 2010 survey, the questions concerning volunteerism were redesigned and expanded.††

Interviewer Remarks

This short section of the Young Adult questionnaire asks the interviewer to provide information about the interview process. There is some branching in the interviewer remarks based on interview type.† The Young Adult interviewer remarks†section contains interview-specific and interviewer comment information, including the type of interview (personal or telephone); the language used to conduct the interview; various interviewer remarks on respondent's race, attitude, understanding of the questions, and presence of anyone else during the interview; and interviewer identification codes.