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The Growing Up in Scotland (GUS) study

First launched in 2005, Growing Up in Scotland is a large-scale longitudinal study designed to examine the characteristics, circumstances and behaviours of children from birth to late adolescence. It was commissioned, and is funded, by the Scottish Government

This research study is following the lives of 8000 Scottish children and their families from birth through to adolescence. Families are visited once a year to take part in an interview which collects a wide range of information about their child and family life.

Topics covered include family circumstances, child health and development, diet and physical activity, experiences of school and pre-school, use of childcare, and access to support from family and friends. The children themselves also take part by having their height and weight measured and by completing tests to measure their cognitive ability. All the data collected is kept strictly confidential and cannot be traced back to individuals.

This information is used by the Government to find out about the needs of young children and their families and to develop policies and plan services to meet these needs. GUS is designed to focus on the early years. In time, researchers will be able to look at the impact of early circumstances and experiences on outcomes in later life, for example, in terms of education or health.

There are two groups of children taking part in GUS. Around 5000 children were born between June 2004 and May 2005 and a further 3000 were born between June 2002 and May 2003. The families were selected at random from Child Benefit records and are representative of Scotland as a whole.


All the research is available via the GUS website and by topic.

The Growing Up In Scotland Scottish Government report (2009) uses data from the study (GUS) to explore families’ experiences of living in Scotland and to consider the relationship between area characteristics, demographics and parenting behaviours.