New external projects with Growing Up in New Zealand data approved

Growing Up in New Zealand has approved access to its anonymised external datasets for three new projects submitted by the Ministries of Education and Social Development, and the Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (SuPERU) in cooperation with the Families Commission.

The new projects will use information collected from the almost 7,000 Growing Up in New Zealand children to gain a better understanding of participation in Early Childhood Education and the effects childcare has on parents' involvement in and return to the labour force; to explore relationships between the children’s mothers and their partners and how these affect their parenting behaviours; and to identify the characteristics and circumstances of mothers who consume alcohol while pregnant.

Growing Up in New Zealand released its second anonymised data set with information collected when the children were 9 months of age to external researchers in July 2014. Since then, it received three external and four internal applications for research access to the information.

The longitudinal study was set up in response to a recognised need by New Zealand policy makers for robust, contemporary, population relevant evidence to inform their efforts to improve the quality of New Zealander’s lives. Since the study’s launch, one of the key aims has been to make this rich and expanding data resource widely available for use in research and policy translation through the release of data sets.

The newly approved external projects in detail

Participation in childcare at 9 months

Ministry of Education

Research and evidence from child development, neurobiological and human capital theory concur that experiences in early childhood can have long-term impacts. During these early years, children are not only influenced positively by rich learning environments, but they are extremely vulnerable to impoverished learning environments. In order to ensure quality childhood education and tailor policy design more effectively, we require accurate information on who, how, where and why children are participating in Early Childhood Education in contemporary New Zealand. We need a picture of how the family/whanau use childcare and how this affects their participation in the labour market or further education and training.

The objectives of this project are to gain a better understanding of the people who use childcare for their children at 9 months of age and why; and to describe the relationship between parents' participation in the labour force and use of childcare in New Zealand.

The research aims to produce a range of descriptive statistics which can be used by policy analysts and decision-makers when considering how best to serve the need of New Zealand families for quality early childhood education. It will provide a comprehensive picture of childcare use at the age of 9 months, and will explore the relationships between labour force participation and income from before birth to 9 months, and labour force participation and childcare use at 9 months of age.

The quality of the interparental relationship and early nurturant parenting behaviours

Ministry of Social Development

The quality of the interparental relationship is of primary importance in family well-being and has a strong influence on a range of other family outcomes, including the health, development and well-being of children. Understanding more about the nature of interparental relationships in New Zealand is of high importance for public policy concerning families and children, since problems in this relationship, including the presence of conflict and violence, are likely to incur high social and fiscal costs, through public responses to domestic violence and the adverse consequences this has for children's development.

This research will aim to develop a set of measures of the interparental relationship, and use these to describe the quality of this relationship and to identify other factors in the family's background and circumstances that are associated with poor outcomes in relationship, including the presence of conflict and violence.

The research will also aim to develop a measure of early nurturant parenting and examine the relationship between the quality of the interparental relationship, including the presence of conflict and violence, and early nurturant parenting. It is anticipated that the research will have utility for a range of policy work, including on purchase, design and delivery of parenting programmes and work on family violence and vulnerable children.

Maternal drinking patterns in a recent New Zealand birth cohort

SuPERU / Families Commission

Recent studies have indicated that alcohol consumption in New Zealand has been increasing in the last decade, especially amongst women. High levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy have been proven to have detrimental effects on fetal and later child development, and it is generally agreed that the reduction of maternal drinking is an important public health goal.

The aim of this study is to describe maternal alcohol consumption in a recent New Zealand birth cohort, to identify the characteristics of mothers who drink and the factors associated with alcohol consumption in this group.

This information will help identify those women who continue to drink during pregnancy and enable better targeting of health promotion campaigns, including a campaign planned by the Health Promotion Agency. The findings will be used to make information campaigns more effective, lowering the use of alcohol and reducing harm to children's health.

Find more current research projects with Growing Up in New Zealand data

Are you a researcher who would like to use Growing Up in New Zealand data?

Our data access guide provides information about who can access the external data sets, how much it costs, how to apply for access and publication with GUiNZ data and what to do with the data once your research is completed.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with us: