An Overview

The 2000 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) includes an interview with the children of NLSY79 mothers who were at least 15 years of age by 12/31/2000, called Young Adults. The primary mode of interview for the 2000 Young Adult fielding was telephone, with in-person interviews as the secondary mode.  The timing of the Young Adult fielding also differed in 2000, in that the telephone interviews for the Young Adults began about six weeks in advance of the main Youth fielding.  The Young Adult Computer-Assisted 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.  For the 2000 fielding, we again fielded the full sample of eligible Young Adults, with no upper age limit imposed.  Because of the structure of the Young Adult sample, some respondents were interviewed as Young Adults for the first time in 2000, some were last interviewed in 1998, and some have been interviewed as Young Adults in either 1994 or 1996 but were not interviewed in 1998.  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 2000 Young Adult survey instrument underwent a major redesign and differs 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 averaged under one hour.  Additionally, more pre-existing information was incorporated into the information sheets to determine branching for each respondentís path through the questionnaire.  Branching also occurred throughout the questionnaire based on the answers provided by the respondent. The following outline briefly describes the contents of each section of the 2000 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 for 2000 and are therefore not listed below.

Section 1: Household Record

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 Adultís current usual living arrangement.  Because type of residence is critical to many skips throughout the survey, the redesign for 2000 streamlines this process.  The survey asks about biological parental presence and then, if the young adult resides with neither biological parent, asks for usual living arrangements.    Questions are then 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.  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.  All young adults are asked a migration and residence sequence as well as religious affiliation and attendance.  First-time Young Adults are asked to verify their date of birth and self-identify their race and ethnic background as well as their fatherís race.  Younger young adults not living with their mother are asked when and why they left home.  These younger young adults are also asked about their fatherís work and education, 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 to whom they feel closest.

Section 3: Dating and Relationship History  

This section of the questionnaire collects detailed 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 questionnaire establishes either an initial relationship history or updates since the date of last interview.  This Young Adult 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 questions about relationship quality. For some respondents, there is also a series of questions 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 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 respondents currently in grades 1-12, (2) the use of career planning or college preparation services by respondents who are high school juniors or seniors, (3) the names of colleges and/or universities applied to for respondents in twelfth grade or first year in college, and (5) the name, type of school, major, degree receipt and financial assistance for college students.  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 are asked about degree completion even if they report no enrollment since the date of last interview.

Section 5: Military  

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.

Section 7: Jobs and Employer Supplement  

The jobs and employer supplements sections of the Young Adult have been extensively 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 were 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 either since the date of the last interview if it is after January 1, 1994, or since January 1, 1994, if the date of last interview is earlier than that.  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.

Section 9: Last Job Lasting 2 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 employment reference date (see Section 7, Jobs).  For respondents who are not initially skipped out of this section, the survey ascertains whether they have ever had a job for pay lasting two or more weeks.  If so, details about this job are asked.

Section 10: First Significant Job after Leaving High 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 their date of 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. Only 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, 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 for practicing professions.  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.  However, in the Young Adult, no information is collected about non-biological children or about 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 and when they have ever been pregnant.  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.  Respondents who are Young Adults for the first time in 1998 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. Young Adults who have had at least one child are asked a series of parental attitude questions. 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 male and female respondents are asked about wantedness and health insurance for their children. All respondents are asked about how many children they expect to have.

Section 13: Child Care  

The child care section in the Young Adult has been significantly redesigned and focuses its questions on the youngest child in the household.  The first series of questions in this section concern parenting behavior and are modeled 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 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, 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 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 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 1998 are 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 1998 will branch directly into the Self-Report section (see next section). 

Young Adult Self-Report Section  

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 record 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.  The branching in this section depends in part on age, past interview status and past reports of behavior. 

Section 17: Interviewer Remarks Section  

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 section based on type of interview (telephone versus in-person).