The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and adolescent substance use trajectories: consolidation of a UK research resource

Lead investigator
Professor Matthew Hickman, University of Bristol

The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC, also known as Children of the 90s) is a long-term health research project. It has detailed biological, behavioral and family data from before birth through to late adolescence, and is the largest such birth cohort in the world. More than 14,000 mothers enrolled during pregnancy in 1991 and 1992, and the health and development of their children has been followed ever since.

Aims & objectives
To use ALSPAC to develop an improved understanding of the causal pathways to different substance use in adolescence, and hence influence public health interventions.
Study design

Members of the longitudinal birth cohort Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children were invited to attend a personal interview.

  • 5837 13-year-old children were asked about previous consumption of alcohol and tobacco.
  • Information on parental socioeconomic position was collected from questionnaires from the mother. This included both social class and education of the expectant mother and her partner, and average household disposable income in early preschool childhood.
  • The impact of missing data was assessed by multiple imputation.
Further information & publications
Start date
April 2009
End date
March 2011