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The Nature and Nurture in Social Demography (NNSD) study is a prospective, longitudinal, adoption study of the transitions from adolescence to adulthood. The purpose of the study is to understand the factors that influence successful and unsuccessful negotiations of important life transitions during this critical period in the life cycle. Who has trouble and who succeeds in the realms of school, career, and relationships, and why?

This research capitalizes on the resources of the Colorado Adoption Project (CAP), the only ongoing, long-term longitudinal adoption study of behavioral development in the world. The CAP sample includes 245 families of adopted children, matched to 245 nonadoptive families ( i.e. parents rearing their own biological children) who have been assessed repeatedly since infancy using a broad, multivariate battery of cognitive, socio-emotional, behavioral, and environmental measures (see cap history for more on the recruitment and testing history, see cap data collection for a list of measures and ages of assessment ).

The specific aims of the project are as follows:

Aim #1: To test hypotheses about familial influences on entry into sexual activity and on sexual behavior in young adulthood. (explanation)

Aim #2: To test hypotheses about genetic and environmental influences on educational and occupational attainment.(explanation)

Aim #3: To test hypotheses about the determinants of family-formation choices of young adults.(explanation)

Aim #4: To test hypotheses about how adult child-parent relationships are affected by the quality of early family relationships.(explanation)

Aim #5: To investigate how early educational and occupational aspirations and attitudes towards family-formation choices predict the timing of important transitions, and how adult transitions may modify attitudes and aspirations. (explanation)

Aim #6: To assess the transitional experiences of adopted vs. nonadopted children as they enter young adulthood. (explanation)

Interview Basics:

The NNSD interview consists of a series of scaling questions read over the telephone to CAP subjects. The interview is designed to measure psycho-social demographics over time. Topics are wide ranging and include academics, achievement motivation, adult parent-child relationships, sibling relationships, religion, union formation (romantic relationships, sexual behavior, and children), and general/integrating questions <see NNSD Major Domains>. There are currently 6 versions of the NNSD administered to CAP subjects, starting with the NNSD1 and continuing on a yearly basis (NNSD2 for year 2 of the interview etc.). There is also one NNSD that is administered to CAP parents. Explanations of the data can be accessed from the bar at the left and accessed by major domain or NNSD year.

Generally speaking, the NNSD interview takes from between 30 minutes to 1 hour to administer. The exception is the NNSD4, which takes only 10 minutes. Also, several of the NNSDs are combined with the ACE, or Active Construction of Experience, interview with the CAP core sample only (table detailing who gets which test). This can add another 1/2 hour to 45 minutes . The ACE is a series of open ended questions that relate to NNSD domains. For example, subjects are asked to explain the biggest fight they have had with their partner or the most difficult challenge they have faced in the last year.

In addition, substance use questions are integrated into the NNSD interview, however, these questions are funded by a separate grant from the Center for the Genetics of Antisocial Drug Dependence (CADD) project. This data is consented separately from the NNSD data, and CADD grants should be cited if substance use data is incorporated into your research.

For more information, please access the CAP history, which explains subject recruitment and testing history. Also, this web site includes an interactive explanation of the CAP fadnumber system. In addition, the CAP Data section explains data collection procedures at all ages. There is also a reference section for some of the testing measures used in the NNSD, administrative protocol and materials used by NNSD testers, grants that should be cited for use of this data, and a question form you can submit to us with any questions related to the NNSD data.

Modified 04.13.07

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