Fragile Families Third Generation

Health, Inequality, Life Course

Project Summary

The intergenerational persistence of poor health and poverty and the quest to understand underlying processes underscore the importance of rich multigenerational data. Very few existing datasets contain comprehensive information on social, environmental, and biological factors over the life course and across generations; lack of such data has seriously limited attempts to identify the processes shaping health disparities, economic inequalities, and causal linkages between the two. The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FF) is the longest running birth-cohort study in the U.S The study is based on a national probability sample and follows parents — both mothers and fathers — and their children who were born in 1998-2000. Based on birth statistics, the children in FF are now having children of their own. We are expanding the FF study by conducting a perinatal survey on the health of this third generation of children, early parenthood experiences of the second generation. We are examining the characteristics of households and families into which the third generation are born, as well as collecting biological specimens from the new children and their non-FF parents. The augmented data will have many unique and valuable features, including:

  1. extensive data on three generations of families: children, parents, and grandparents;
  2. data on siblings and half-siblings (in the third generation);
  3. three generations of exposures and genetic and epigenetic data;
  4. genetic data on trios (third generation children and both of their parents); and
  5. comprehensive data on perinatal health (pre-pregnancy, prenatal, delivery, neonatal, and postpartum factors including breastfeeding and postpartum depression) and circumstances in the second and third generations.

The Fragile Families Third Generation study will facilitate novel and important analyses of intergenerational transmission of health, intergenerational relationships within families, and gene-environment effects on health. It will also provide an essential foundation for future third generation data collection at subsequent developmental transitions including school readiness and emerging adulthood.


Colter Mitchell

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