An Overview

The 2002 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) included an interview with the children of NLSY79 mothers who were at least 15 years of age by 12/31/2002, called Young Adults. The primary mode of interview for the 2002 fielding was telephone, with in-person interviews as the secondary mode. The timing of the Young Adult fielding also differed in 2002, in that the telephone interviews for the Young Adults were begun in advance of the primary main Youth fielding. 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 2002 fielding, there were also no sample restrictions for age. Because of the structure of the Young Adult sample, some respondents were interviewed as Young Adults for the first time in 2002, some were last interviewed in 2000, and some have been interviewed as Young Adults in 1994, 1996, or 1998 but were not interviewed in 2000. 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.

The 2002 Young Adult survey instrument changed only modestly from the 2000 survey. However, the 2000 Young Adult survey had undergone 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 respondent's path through the questionnaire. Branching also occurs throughout the questionnaire based on the answers provided by the respondent. The primary redesign for 2002 involves incoporating, 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. The following outline briefly describes the contents of each section of the 2002 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) have been eliminated 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; however, no pre-existing information is incorporated into this section. Each young adult goes through this section as though this were a new household, 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 Adult's 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 respondent's 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 attendence 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). Where appropriate, young adults are also asked about contact with the sibling they feel closest to.

Section 3: Dating and Marital 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 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 current spouses or partners, there is a short section on employment as well as a 14-item series on relationship quality. 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.

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.

Section 7: On 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.

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. 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 then routed 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 mother's 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. Detailed questions are asked about a 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. 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 2002 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 child's residence and contact with each parent. 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. All respondents are asked about how many children they expect to have.

Section 13: Child Care

The child care section in the Young Adult focuses its questions on the youngest child in the household who is associated with the respondent, whether that child is biological, step, adopted or partner's. The survey automatically identifies this child from information gathered earlier. The first series of questions in this section concern parenting behavior and are modelled after questions in the HOME section of the NLSY79 Mother Supplement. This section also collects details about current child care for the youngest child. The Young Adult survey also asks 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.

Section 15: Income and Assets

The income section for the Young Adult questionnaire has been redesigned to streamline the flow of respondents through the section. Nonemancipated respondents are asked only about their own income, their family's 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.

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. First time young adults as well as young adults who were last interviewed prior to 2000 were given the Pearlin Mastery scale, the Rosenberg self-esteem scale, and a 7-item version of the CES-D depression scale. Young adults last interviewed in 2000 branched directly into the Self-Report section (see next section), unless they were aged 17, 18 or older than 22. Regardless of their last interview date, respondents aged 17, 18 or older than 22 were asked the Women's Roles questions which have been asked of the mothers and in some earlier Young Adult years.

Young Adult Self-Report

The Young Adult Self-Report Booklet, previously a paper instrument, has been streamlined and integrated into the CAPI questionnaire. 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 will carry 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.

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.