Pittsburgh Youth Study Oldest Sample (1987 - 2000) [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania] (ICPSR 36455)
Version Date: Jan 6, 2017 View help for published
Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Rolf Loeber, University of Pittsburgh; Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, University of Pittsburgh; David P. Farrington, University of Cambridge; Dustin Pardini, University of Pittsburgh
Summary View help for Summary
The Pittsburgh Youth Study (PYS) is part of the larger "Program of Research on the Causes and Correlates of Delinquency" initiated by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in 1986. PYS aims to document the development of antisocial and delinquent behavior from childhood to early adulthood, the risk factors that impinge on that development, and help seeking and service provision of boys' behavior problems. The study also focuses on boys' development of alcohol and drug use, and internalizing problems.
PYS consists of three samples of boys who were in the first, fourth, and seventh grades in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania public schools during the 1987-1988 academic year (called the youngest, middle, and oldest sample, respectively). Using a screening risk score that measured each boy's antisocial behavior, boys identified at the top 30 percent within each grade sample on the screening risk measure (n=~250), as well as an equal number of boys randomly selected from the remainder (n=~250), were selected for follow-up. Consequently, the final sample for the study consisted of 1,517 total students selected for follow-up. 506 of these students were in the oldest sample, 508 were in the middle sample, and 503 were in the youngest sample.
Assessments were conducted semiannually and then annually using multiple informants (i.e., boys, parents, teachers) between 1987 and 2010. The youngest sample was assessed from ages 6-19 and again at ages 25 and 28. The middle sample was assessed from ages 9-13 and again at age 23. The oldest sample was assessed from ages 13-25, with an additional assessment at age 35. Information has been collected on a broad range of risk and protective factors across multiple domains (e.g., individual, family, peer, school, neighborhood). Measures of conduct problems, substance use/abuse, criminal behavior, mental health problems have been collected.
This study collection contains only the oldest sample respondents.
Citation View help for Citation
Funding View help for Funding
Subject Terms View help for Subject Terms
Geographic Coverage View help for Geographic Coverage
Restrictions View help for Restrictions
Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement. Data are provided via ICPSR's Virtual Data Enclave (VDE). Apply for access to these data through the ICPSR VDE portal. Information and instructions are available within the data portal. For further assistance please reference the VDE Guide to learn about the application process, about using the VDE, and how to request disclosure review of VDE output.
Distributor(s) View help for Distributor(s)
Time Period(s) View help for Time Period(s)
Date of Collection View help for Date of Collection
Data Collection Notes View help for Data Collection Notes
Most variables in the PYS data collection match the questions and labeling information presented in the original survey and interview booklets provided by the research team. However, users should be aware that there are some minor discrepancies between the raw data available as part of this collection and the original survey and interview booklets.
A limited number of questions that appear in the original booklets are not represented by corresponding variables in the data. Variables were dropped from the data collection for various reasons including confidentiality concerns, the presence of duplicate questions in the original questionnaire, and missing unit information that made particular questions/variables meaningless. Additionally, some free-response questions were never coded or entered into the data files.
Variable labels were written with the intention of conveying exactly what is measured by that individual variable, which in some cases requires including some of the text of other questions. For some variables, the answer codes printed in the questionnaire were inadequate for representing the responses given, so additional codes were added in the data file.
When working with the PYS data, please use Cohort 2 booklets unless the question is labeled "Cohort 1 only." Approximately two-thirds of the participants in PYS are part of Cohort 2. Therefore, the PYS standard is to use Cohort 2 variable names and data structure as much as possible. Consequently, cohort 2 booklets match best with the available datasets.
Open-ended questions have been recoded to categorical variables to facilitate analyses and to protect respondent confidentiality. A detailed inventory of variable-level recodes is not available.
Single questions in which a respondent could circle or select more than one response are represented by multiple dichotomous variables in the data.
In continuous variables, the PYS research team and ICPSR retained all responses even if a value seems implausible. Users should review continuous variables for high and low outliers before including a variable in their analyses. Researchers may consider top- or bottom-coding responses or re-coding outliers to missing data codes.
In some datasets, there are differences in the numbering and lettering of questions between the data and documentation. Please note that even though differences may exist, the text of the questions present are largely identical between the data and documentation. Therefore, these numbering or lettering differences should not significantly impede users attempts to match questions in the data with the documentation provided.
There may be differences between early versions of the questionnaire booklets and the data in the way answers are coded. Changes were made to coding in the data to make it consistent with questionnaires from subsequent phases.
Please see the readme file for a description of the public use documentation and the 504 datasets in this collection.
The following phases from the oldest sample are included in this collection:
- Screening (1987/1988)
- Phases A - E (1987/1988 - 1989/1990)
- Phase G (1990/1991)
- Phase I (1991/1992)
- Phase K (1992/1993)
- Phase M (1993/1994)
- Phase O (1994/1995)
- Phase Q (1995/1996)
- Phase SS (1996/1997)
- Phase U (1997/1998)
- Phase W (1998/1999)
- Phase Z (1999/2000)
The following phases from the oldest sample are not included in this collection:
- Phase DD (2009/2010)
Study Purpose View help for Study Purpose
The Pittsburgh Youth Study (PYS) is a part of the Program of Research on the Causes and Correlates of Delinquency (Causes and Correlates), initiated in 1986 by the United States Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Causes and Correlates is designed to improve the understanding of serious delinquency, violence, and drug use by examining how youth develop within the context of family, school, peers, and community. Specifically, PYS aims to document the development of antisocial and delinquent behavior from childhood to early adulthood, the risk factors that impinge on that development, and help seeking and service provision of boys' behavior problems. It also focuses on boys' development of alcohol and drug use, and internalizing problems. Additionally, the study serves as a real-life laboratory for advancing and testing hypothesized developmental pathways.
Sample View help for Sample
The initial sample for the Pittsburgh Youth Study (PYS) was selected with the assistance of the Pittsburgh Board of Education in 1987. PYS researchers started out with comprehensive public school lists of the enrollment of 1,631, 1,432, and 1,419 male students in grades 1, 4, and 7 during the 1987-1988 school year respectively. From these lists, researchers randomly selected about 1,100 boys in each of the three grades to be contacted (1,165, 1,146, and 1,125 in grades 1, 4, and 7, respectively). However, a number of the children had moved out of the school district, proved to be girls, or were of incorrect age and were therefore not eligible participants. Eventually, 1,006, 1,004, and 998 families with eligible boys in grades 1, 4, and 7, respectively, were contacted. Boys in grade 1 became the "youngest" sample, boys in grade 4 became the "middle" sample, and boys in grade 7 became the "oldest" sample. From this contact, 84.6 percent, 86.3 percent, and 83.9 percent of the eligible boys in the youngest, middle, and oldest samples respectively chose to participate in PYS.
In order to increase the number of high-risk males in the sample, researchers used a screening assessment on a subset of the boys during the first phase of the study, Phase S. Risk scores from this screening assessment measured each boy's antisocial behavior using parent, teacher, and self-report instruments. Within each grade-based sample, boys identified at the top 30 percent on the screening risk measure (n=~250), as well as an equal number of boys randomly selected from the remaining 70 percent (n=~250), were selected for follow-up in subsequent phases (Phase A- Phase DD). This resulted in the final samples of 503, 508, and 506 boys in grades 1, 4, and 7, respectively, who together with their parent were to be followed up.
The youngest sample (N=503) and the oldest sample (N=506) have been assessed continuously since 1987, while the middle sample (N=508) was only assessed seven times from ages 10-13. Assessments of each of the cohorts were carried out initially half-yearly, and later yearly. When the assessment periods switched from six months to one year, the youngest sample was interviewed every spring and the oldest sample every fall. Each phase letter still represents a six-month period. Thus, all the phases from H through AA have data for only one sample.
Time Method View help for Time Method
Universe View help for Universe
The population of 1st, 4th, and 7th grade students and their parents attending public school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during the 1987-1988. This study collection contains only those students, and their parent, who were in seventh grade during the 1987-1988 school year.
Unit(s) of Observation View help for Unit(s) of Observation
Data Source View help for Data Source
Self-Report and mail questionnaires completed by student participants and one parental figure
In-person and telephone structured interviews of student participants and one parental figure
Data Type(s) View help for Data Type(s)
Mode of Data Collection View help for Mode of Data Collection
Description of Variables View help for Description of Variables
There are 504 datasets present in the Pittsburgh Youth Study (PYS). Each dataset includes variables relating to a particular topic and collected from the student, their caretaker and their teacher. The interviewers themselves also provided appraisals of the student's neighborhood conditions. The topics covered were as follows:
- Demographic Information
- Extent and Consequences of Participant Drug Use and Delinquency
- Peer Drug Use
- Peer Delinquency
- Attitudes Towards Delinquency
- Family Delinquency
- Level of Supervision
- Health History
- Participant Gang Involvement
- Crime Victimization
- Neighborhood Characteristics
- Romantic Relationships and Sexual Experiences
- Caretaker Stress Level
- Employment Status and Skills
- Parenting Style and Involvement
- Attitudes Towards Education
- Parent-Child Relationship and Communication
- Personal Characteristics
- Parental Expectations
- Methods of Discipline
- Household Financial Information
- Insurance Information
Response Rates View help for Response Rates
Participant retention for the Pittsburgh Youth Study has historically been high (mean=91 percent), with 82 percent of living participants completing the most recent interview conducted in 2010.Hide
Original Release Date View help for Original Release Date
Version History View help for Version History
- Loeber, Rolf, Magda Stouthamer-Loeber, David P. Farrington, and Dustin Pardini. Pittsburgh Youth Study Oldest Sample (1987 - 2000) [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania]. ICPSR36455-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2016-12-23. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR36455.v1
2017-01-06 Archive the processing history files.
2016-12-23 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:
- Created variable labels and/or value labels.
- Standardized missing values.
- Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.
The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.