Using Record Linkage to Generate the Add Health Children Study Database

To advance scientific understanding of the developmental origins and intergenerational transmission of health and well-being, new data sources are needed containing rich biological, genetic, social, psychological, behavioral, environmental, and economic information on both parents and children. The goal of this project is to establish the feasibility of creating such a data source that links the birth records of children born to mothers and fathers in the Add Health Study. This project is piloting the linkage of births to female Add Health respondents living in three US states. Add Health is the ideal study with which to build an intergenerational database with its longitudinal design, national representation, and substantial racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity and will position Add Health as one of the preeminent data resources for studying the developmental origins of health and disease. The aims of this project are: (1) Obtain birth certificate records from three states for a span of 20+ years (1988-present) that encompasses the entire time period in which Add Health respondents have given birth. (2) Develop and apply a probabilistic linking algorithm to link the birth records of children of female Add Health respondents to their mother’s longitudinal data in these three states, and perform this linkage to create the new Add Health Children Study Database. This new database will include information on approximately 3,800 births in these states. (3) Geocode the location of mother’s home address (listed on the birth certificates) to merge social environmental data around the time of pregnancy and birth to the mother’s Add Health longitudinal data and the child’s birth record data. At the same time, gather parallel environmental data on all neighborhoods in these three states in order to characterize surrounding neighborhoods. (4) Document the best-practice procedures that emerged from aims 1-3 and disseminate preliminary birth records data from the Add Health Children Study Database to the community of Add Health users. The new Add Health Children Study Database will be the first dataset of its kind in the US with social, behavioral, environmental, and biological data on mothers during the pre-conception period, beginning in early adolescence, with birth certificate data on their children. It will also be the first dataset that will contain geographic data describing the mother’s social environment at the time of birth, in addition to geographic data describing her social environment at multiple points in time, starting in early adolescence and spanning the transition to adulthood. Research made possible by this new database will have significant public health impact through identifying preconception causes of adverse birth outcomes and understanding the transmission of intergenerational disparities in health.

Principal Investigators: Kathleen Mullan Harris , Jon M. Hussey, Jennifer Buher-Kane

Funding Source: NIH NICHD

Grant Number: R21HD088846

Funding Period: 7/18/2016 - 6/30/2018

Primary Research Area: Demography

Affiliated Research Project:

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