Research and analysis

Long-term effects of childhood bereavement: preliminary analysis of the 1970 British cohort study

Report using data from the 1970 British cohort study to describe some of the characteristics of bereaved children and their families.

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There is a body of evidence suggesting that for some children there can be a profound effect on their life from the loss of a parent at the time of the bereavement. Case-study research suggests this effect can be felt throughout an individual’s life, but less is known about how this emotional upheaval in childhood influences achievement in the different domains of adult life.

To investigate the long-term effect of childhood bereavement, this preliminary analysis uses data from the 1970 British cohort study first to describe some of the characteristics of bereaved children and their families and second to investigate the correlates of childhood bereavement with measures of adult wellbeing.

Measures of well being outcomes for adults were available at age 30, namely educational qualifications obtained, general health, mental health, and employment status.

The research analyses carried out and reported in this working paper are based on longitudinal information provided by 11,000+ adults who were born in 1970 and were members of the BCS70 cohort study who were interviewed at age 30.

Published 29 September 2011