The Great Smoky Mountains Study (GSMS): Alcohol, Cannabis, Depression Disorders, North Carolina, 1992-2003 (ICPSR 37221)

Version Date: Dec 12, 2018 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
E. Jane Costello, Duke University. Center for Developmental Epidemiology

Version V1

Slide tabs to view more

The Great Smoky Mountain Study (GSMS) is a longitudinal epidemiological study of 1,420 children begun in 1992 in 11 rural counties in western North Carolina. Originally, the study had three aims: 1) to estimate the prevalence of common psychiatric disorders; 2) to study their development over time; and 3) to determine the level of mental health service use. The study expanded over time to include correlates and predictors of substance abuse and psychiatric problems. The study continued for over 20 years, with the original participants assessed up to 11 times from ages 9 to 30 (over 11,000 assessments total).

This collection includes data from study modules related to alcohol, cannabis, and depressive disorders in addition to core data on participants. This core data includes demographic variables related to age, sex, socioeconomic status, and race.

Costello, E. Jane. The Great Smoky Mountains Study (GSMS): Alcohol, Cannabis, Depression Disorders, North Carolina, 1992-2003. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2018-12-12.

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote

Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

1992 -- 2003
1992 -- 2003
  1. For additional information about the Great Smoky Mountains Study (GSMS), including access to data collection instruments, please visit the Great Smoky Mountains Study website.

Annual assessments, including the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment (CAPA) and Young Adult Psychiatric Assessment (YAPA) were completed with the child and the primary caregiver until age 16 and then with the participant again at ages 19, 21, 24-26, and 30. An average of 83 percent of possible interviews were completed overall (range: 75 percent to 94 percent). More than 11,000 assessments were collected. Before interviews, participants signed informed consent forms approved by the Duke University Medical Center Institutional Review Board.

The study recruited participants from 11 rural counties in the Appalachian mountain region of North Carolina. Study participants were originally recruited using a multi-stage household equal probability, accelerated cohort design. With the accelerated cohort design, each age cohort reaches a given age in a different year, reducing the time needed to study effects of age. The first stage involved screening parents (N=3,896) for child behavior problems. All non-American Indian children scoring in the top 25 percent on a behavioral problems screener, plus a 1-in-10 random sample of the rest, were recruited for detailed interviews. American Indians made up only about 3 percent of the study area but were recruited regardless of screen score to constitute 25 percent of the sample.

Of all subjects recruited, 80 percent (N=1,420) agreed to participate. The weighted sample was 49.0 percent female. All subjects were given a weight inversely proportional to their probability of selection, so that the results are representative of the population from which the sample was drawn.

Longitudinal: Cohort / Event-based

Children aged 9-16, and their parents, who lived in 11 counties in western North Carolina between 1992 and 2003.


Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment (CAPA)

Young Adult Psychiatric Assessment (YAPA)



2018-12-12 The study is being updated to include public documentation files.


The Core Module (dataset 1) contains the weight variable WT2, which should be used with any analysis.



  • 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.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.