RTI International to collect survey data for largest national study on adolescent health

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC— RTI International will serve as the survey data collection subcontractor for the largest national study on adolescent health in the United States, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). The study, led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Carolina Population Center, will build upon four previous waves of data collected as part of Add Health.

The five-year, $28 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will allow researchers to collect the fifth wave of survey and biological data on nearly 20,000 respondents who participated in the first in-home survey wave in 1995. RTI has been associated with Add Health for 13 years.

The project will collect a new round of social and biological data from the original respondents when they are in their thirties and for the first time will capture information on respondents' birth and early childhood experiences. The study, which includes existing data collected over the past 20 years, will track information about the respondents through the first four decades of their lives. 

Since 1995, when researchers first conducted extensive interviews with a nationally representative sample of 20,000 students in grades 7-12, Add Health has provided the data for more than 2,000 scientific papers by more than 10,000 researchers around the world. The foundational studies have mapped the obesity epidemic, brought the silent epidemic of largely undetected high blood pressure in young adults into public awareness and pioneered work on how their social and behavioral lives interact with genetic makeup.

"We are excited to work with UNC to transition this large, heavily used, long-term project from in-person data collection to a multi-mode data collection model that accommodates the current budget picture, yet maintains the high quality that data users expect and science requires," said Brian Burke, RTI Add Health project director.

For Wave V, RTI will implement these changes for the Carolina Population Center to collect information that will replace the in-person data collection techniques used in Waves I-IV. To do so, RTI will implement a multifaceted, multimode design that will spread costs evenly over the four-year data collection period. The new model will also allow researchers to investigate mode effects associated with using different data collection methods from Add Health Wave IV. RTI is using the latest survey research technologies to conduct this project and further scientific excellence. 

The new funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which deemed the study "a national treasure" for the scientific community, will allow researchers worldwide to better understand how teens' health, social experience, genetic profile and living environments might influence their health and behavior later in adulthood.

Highlights

  • RTI will serve as the survey data collection subcontractor for the largest national study on adolescent health in the United States, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health
  • The data will allow researchers worldwide to better understand how teens' health, social experience, genetic profile and living environments might influence their health and behavior later in adulthood