Parental Information


Information on the study members' parents was collected during the course of the interviews with the study members' mother between 1946 and 1961. In later years, information was collected from the study members themselves on parental death and health conditions.

The maternity study and later fertility extraction sheets collected the age of the mother and the father at the birth of the study member. Although the questions varied in terminology used, in each case when a question referred to the father this was noted to be mother's present husband and not necessarily the father of the child.


Parental height and weight

Mothers' heights were measured by health visitors at clinics using their own protocols when their study child was aged six years, and mothers reported the height of the father. We believe this to apply to parental weights as well but the study documentation is unclear. A metric version has been derived.

Parental education

The maternity study recorded the last place of education that the mother attended and in 1952 more detailed information was collected on the education of the mother and the father.

Parental health

Information regarding illnesses and disabilities experienced by the parents was asked in 1961. The mothers were asked a short, early version of the Maudsley Personality Inventory. In later years information was collected from the study members on the deaths of their parents.

Parental work history

The mother's employment at the start of the 1946 pregnancy was recorded in the maternity study along with her pay and intentions to return to work. However, much of this information was never converted to data files and exists only on the microfiche records of the maternity study.

The occupation of the present husband was recorded in 1946, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1957 and 1961. The mother's work status was also recorded at each of the interviews with the mother. In addition, in 1954 questions were asked of the occupation of the study member's paternal and maternal grandfather.

Marital history

In the maternity study the mothers were asked their age at their first marriage. The mothers of the study members were not asked their marital status, rather this was collected by health visitor observation. Study members were asked retrospectively about their parents' marriage in 1972.


Obtaining the standard parental information variables

  • You can obtain a list of the standard topic variables to use in an NSHD data sharing request by selecting the link at the end of this page.
  • The XML version of the link can be sent to the LHA as part of a data sharing request.
  • Simply use your browser's Save As facility to save the list of variables to a file on your computer.
  • You can then email the XML version to us in support of your application, or when you fill in the data access application form and it asks which variables you need, mention the 'parental information standard basket' along with any others.


HTML version of the standard variables to view

Download the XML for the parental information standard basket