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National Survey of Children

Resource Type
  • Child Trends, Washington
  • Foundation for Child Development, New York
Publication Date
  • Institute for Survey Research, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Data Collector)
  • ZA:
    • Family
  • Abstract

    A detailed determination of the situation of children by means of 5 questionnaires. 1. Survey of parents about their background and the surroundings in which their child is growing up. 2. Survey of parents on their educational goals, supervision of the child and the child-parent relationship. 3. The situation and conduct of the child from the view of the parents. 4. Survey of the child about his situation, social contacts, self-image, family relations, school questions and personal attitudes. 5. Survey of the teacher on school achievement as well as characterization of the child. Topics: 1. Parent survey about their personal background and description of the social surroundings in which the child is growing up: number of marriages up to now; duration and reason for dissolution of earlier marriages; number of children and ages of the children; regional and social origins; city size of place of birth; condition of health, primary occupation, employment intents and time of last employment of mother; characterization of job; these questions were also answered for the father. 2. Questions on upbringing and supervision of the children: primary person raising or supervising the child; place of upbringing and supervision; costs for supervision and satisfaction with current supervision; importance of religious instruction of children; regional mobility and number of changes of residence in the last 5 years; length of current local residency; the significance of environmental stress and crime in the neighborhood as reason to move; judgement on the neighborhood as surroundings for child-raising; judgement on local infrastructure facilities in view of the child; preferred institutions for sick care; housing situation and size of residence; monthly housing costs; most important source of income; frequency of money difficulties; manner of organization of leisure time and activities together with the child; educational goals; sanction practices; marriage conflicts and judgement on one´s own marriage; frequency of expressions of affection to the child as well as reasons for refusal; frequency of phases of nervousness and sadness of child; frequency of being fed up with the family and personal uncontrolled conduct regarding the child; perceptions of stress or boredom; significance of children for personal life up to now; judgement on the importance of upbringing as help in life for the child; general contentment with life. 3. Parent information about current situation of the child: serious injuries or accidents of the child; current condition of health; number of visits to the doctor; information on development in school; number of classes repeated and times of absence; discipline or behavior problems in school; desired educational level; number of playmates and familiarity of the friends with parents; assessment of sociability; satisfaction with general conduct of child in comparison to others; independence and learning ability; frequency of running away; psychological characterization of child (scale); medical treatments due to behavior disturbances and use of psychiatric drugs; athletic and artistic activities; time budget of child for television, homework, playing and contact with parents; most difficult child-raising period; current psychological closeness to child and expected changes; general judgement on the being of the child; number of pregnancies up to now; problems during pregnancy; desired pregnancy. 4. Survey of the child: leisure behavior and duties in household; boredom afternoons; preferred hobbies and leisure activities; frequency of playing without supervision; number of friends and characterization of them according to race and sex; trouble with friends; assessment of personal popularity among playmates; playing alone and feeling of loneliness; possession of a ´best friend´ and desire for more friends; judgement on the neighborhood and surroundings; information on ´current mother´ or reference person; detailed judgement on the upbringing style of mother as well as the upbringing style of father; relation to siblings; judgement on one´s own health; relationship with doctor; pretending illness; assessment of personal appearance and strength in comparison with other children; self-assessment of personal advantages and disadvantages; occupation desire; famous model; knowledge about current US president and preferred president; attitude to a woman or a Black as US president; frequency of concerns and fears; fear situations; ability to interpret correctly facial expressions in the form of sample pictures presented; conditions of great anxiety; modesty; conditions of great pleasure; general contentment with life; attitude to school; judgement on one´s own strength of achievement; favorite subjects; number of teachers and relation to home-room teacher; fights with classmates; difficulties with teachers due to such fights; interest in homework and help with homework; desire for change of school. Interviewer rating: for this part of the survey extensive information was recorded by the interviewer: presence of other persons and their relationship with the child; assessment of the intensity of listening during the interview and intervention by this person; physical appearance of respondent; assessment of intelligence and spontaneity of respondent; problems in communication; attention and willingness of respondent to cooperate; judgement on reliability of responses; assessment of shyness of the child; general atmosphere in household; place of stay during the interview; judgement on residence furnishings; equipped with books, media, pictures and games; type of building; description of residential surroundings; assessment of social class of family. 5. Teacher survey: judgement on strength of achievement and learning progress of the child; most important improvement measures; number of days absent and reasons for this; discipline and behavior problems; assessment of relationship of child to teachers and classmates; judgement on physical and psychological condition of health; characterization of child (scale); available background information about the child; achievements of the child on standardized reading, mathematics and intelligence tests; school grades and most important support measures for the child; general judgement on the child; length of knowing the child; place of education and education degree as well as duration of occupation of the teacher; assessment of the primary cultural background of the teacher.
Temporal Coverage
  • 1976-09 / 1977
Geographic Coverage
  • United States (US)
Sampled Universe
Households with children between 7 and 11 years.
Multi-stage stratified random sample (random route procedure)
Collection Mode
  • Oral survey with standardized questionnaire
Data and File Information
  • Unit Type: Individual
    Number of Units: 2301
The sample was set up such that about 500 Blacks were also interviewed. Altogether 174 households were selected and 2258 children interviewed. In 510 households 2 children were interviewed. In 43 households it was impossible to interview the children. Instead their parents were interviewed. In all cases the parents were of course interviewed with the so-called parents questionnaire. Normally the mother was interviewed; however, if this was not possible, then the father was interviewed. In the form of a follow-up study in the spring of 1977 the home-room teachers of 1682 schoolchildren were interviewed.
B - Data and documents are released for academic research and teaching, if the results won’t be published. If any publications or any further work on the results is planned, permission must be obtained by the Data Archive.
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Alternative Identifiers
  • ZA1170 (Type: ZA-No.)

Update Metadata: 2017-12-28 | Issue Number: 74 | Registration Date: 2010-07-22

Child Trends, Washington; Foundation for Child Development, New York (1981): National Survey of Children. Version: 1.0.0. GESIS Data Archive. Dataset.