An evaluation of the childhood family structure measures from the sixth wave of the British Household Panel Survey
The paper performs an evaluation of the data that were collected in the sixth wave of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) on childhood family structure. After comparing such data with a large number of studies by using external sources, we find that the BHPS dataoverestimatethe proportion of people who report an experience of life in a non-intact family during childhood by about 10%. Although an explanation based on recall error that deteriorates with the age of the BHPS respondents is possible, the overestimation is likely to be accounted for by non-ignorable attrition that may affect most of the comparison studies based on longitudinal data. Conversely, comparisons with other independent measurements from the BHPS itself reveal that the wave 6 dataunderestimatethe proportion of young people who have lived at least part of their childhood in a non-intact family by about 8%. The probability of disagreement between these two sets of measures is strongly associated with poor interview characteristics, which may affect the comparison measure more than the wave 6 measure. Despite such differences, there is therefore a substantial degree of similarity between the family structure information that was collected in the sixth wave of the BHPS and the host of highly diverse records against which it has been compared.
Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A (Statistics in Society)
Volume and page numbers
168 (3):539-566 , 539 -566
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