Current research

Children of the 1950s

Current research

1. Life-course determinants of resilience to cognitive and mood disorders

D Chapko, University of Aberdeen

Understanding the factors that determine resilience to brain ageing could significantly reduce the burden of cognitive impairment and dementia on individuals, heath care providers, and societies. The focus of this work is the fascinating concept of cognitive reserve which implies that some individuals are able to remain cognitively healthy despite the accumulation of age-related neuropathology. Here, the determinants of brain structure and function (such as birth weight, mid-life occupational profile, and late-life social relationships and technology use) are statistically modelled using the ongoing ageing cohort studies including the Generation Scotland subsample of ACONF.

2. Guide and Scout participation in childhood and influence on cognitive ability, social mobility and mental health in adulthood

Dr Lynne Forrest, University of Edinburgh

This study examines whether being a member of the Guides, Scouts or Boys Brigade in childhood influences mental health in adulthood, using the Aberdeen Child of the 1950s birth cohort. We also want to look at whether being a member enhances intelligence and social mobility.

3. Growing up in Aberdeen

Professor C Wallace, University of Aberdeen

This study aims to find out people’s experiences of growing up in Aberdeen.  Through face to face interviews, it will help us to understand how the lives of people from your generation were affected by the social and economic changes that have taken place, including the rebuilding of residential areas, the changing educational system, the impact of the oil industry and decline of the fishing industries and other factors. 

4. Multimorbidity

Dr M Johnston, University of Aberdeen

Multimorbidity, the co-existence of two or more health conditions, is a growing Public Health challenge due to the ageing of our population and a rise in the number of long term conditions. It is associated with poorer outcomes and the increased use of health and social care services. If interventions are to be developed and services better targeted, there is a need to investigate the prevalence of multimorbidity and the early and later life factors associated with its development and resilience to its effects.


Professor A Murray, University of Aberdeen

Professor A McIntosh, University of Aberdeen

Clinical depression is a chronic worldwide health problem affecting millions of people and approximately 13 per cent of the UK population. Researchers say that although it is a chronic and recurrent problem for many sufferers, little is known about what makes people vulnerable or resilient to the condition. By studying groupings of people both with and without depression in this way researchers hope to be able to identify its causes and mechanisms, which can be used in the quest for diagnostic tests and new therapies.

The investigators will test whether the subgroups of depressed individuals correspond to different diseases using tests of memory and intelligence (cognition) as well as brain imaging. website 

6. Development of a global neurodevelopmental risk score predictive of life adversity

A Warrilow, University of Glasgow

Using information from the Children of the 1950s study, this research aims to investigate links between childhood development, including behaviour and intelligence, and later life health and social functioning. Ultimately it aims to develop a tool that could help to identify children at risk of poorer outcomes and who may benefit from further assessment or other intervention.

7. Benzodiazepines and Z-drugs Prescribing Patterns over Time among the Aberdeen Children of the Nineteen Fifties Cohort

M Khezrian, University of Aberdeen

Long-term benzodiazepines (BZD) and Z-drugs prescribing is a concern worldwide due to the risks associated with these medicines. Guidelines recommend that they should be prescribed only for severe anxiety/insomnia and that prescribing should be limited to the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time period (up to four weeks). Despite guidelines, in Scotland the sustained level of prescribing over the last decade suggests long-term use. A large amount of the BZD and Z-drugs prescribing occurred in those aged 40-69. Understanding BZD and Z-drugs prescribing patterns and whether particular patient characteristics (such as socioeconomic status and circumstances, social mobility, having several chronic conditions) are related to long-term prescribing might allow us to prevent long-term use. 

8. Adversity in childhood and mid-life multimorbidity 

Dr A Potts, NHS Grampian

This study aims to identify the factors in childhood which contribute to ill health or resillience to ill health in later life.  identification of these factors and how they interact will be used to create a risk score of 'general childhood adversity'.

9. Alcohol-induced hangovers in middle-age in relation to chronic disease and injury

Professor David Batty, University College London

This study has been designed to look at the association of alcohol induced hangovers on health outcomes, particularly cardiovascular disease and injury.

10. Experience of social mobility

K Adamczyk, University of Aberdeen

We are taught from a young age to aim high, to reach for the stars, to want more, more than our parents, more than the generations before us, to climb the social ladder. But as we surge forward, as we grapple for university places and promotions, what are we leaving behind? And from our ladder in the stars, if we look back, what do we see?

This study employs a mixed-methods approach to examine how individuals understand, experience and evaluate social mobility and the effect of social mobility trajectories on health and wellbeing. Through statistical analysis of survey data and life-history interviews, this research aims to illuminate how people experience life-course transitions, occupational and otherwise, in times of social change.

11. How strongly is family socioeconomic status associated with children’s cognitive and scholastic performance during the years of attending primary school?

Professor von Stum, University of York

Family background is one of the key factors influences children’s differences in cognitive and scholastic performance. 

Previous studies have shown that children from more advantaged family backgrounds tend to perform better in cognitive tests and school exams than children from impoverished family homes. However, the strength of the association between family background and children’s performance in cognitive tests and school exams during the years of attending primary school in the ACONF sample is yet unknown. For this project, we will estimate this association to compare its strength to that reported for other samples from Britain.