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Pittsburgh Youth Study
Developmental Trends Study
Pittsburgh Girls Study
Consortium on the Causes and Prevention of Violence

Department of Psychiatry


The Pittsburgh Girls Study (PGS) is a community-wide longitudinal study of young girls in the City of Pittsburgh. Current funding for the study is provided by National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.  

The Pittsburgh Girls Study:

  • Focuses on the development of conduct disorders and delinquency in a large inner-city, community sample of preadolescent girls

  • Investigates co-occurring problematic disorders, such as depression, somatisation problems, and substance use

  • Collects information about service delivery and help seeking by parents and teachers for girls’ problem behavior

  • Investigates a wide range of risk and protective factors that may influence the course of girls’ problem behaviors over time

To identify eligible girls, we undertook in 1999-2000 a community-wide survey of households in 90 neighborhoods of the City of Pittsburgh.  From this survey of 103,238 households, we identified 3,241 girls aged between five and eight years (disadvantaged neighborhoods have been over sampled).  When we re-contacted the initial sample, 85.3% of the eligible girls and their families agreed to participate in the longitudinal study, resulting in a final sample size of 2,451.  The study utilizes multiple informants: the children, their primary caregiver, and their teacher are all being interviewed independently on an annual basis.  Data collection for the first study phase began in the Fall of 2000 and was successfully completed in August 2001. 

Currently, the girls, their parents and teachers are participating in the ninth assessment when the girls are aged 14-17 years. At this stage, the following cooperation rates have been achieved:

Phase  Cooperation Rate
Phase 2 97.20%
Phase 3 95.40%
Phase 4 94.25%
Phase 5 93.10%
Phase 6   92.5%
Phase 7   91.3%
Phase 8   89.19%

We anticipate to continue the study at least until the girls have gone through adolescence, but this goal depends on future funding.

Data Sharing

We are interested in collaborating with qualified investigators outside of the Pittsburgh Girls Study research team and have procedures in place to enable data sharing while protecting the confidentiality of PGS participants. To obtain unidentified data, investigators will need to submit clearly defined research questions and a detailed description of planned analyses along with copies of their institutional certificates of research practice fundamentals and human subjects research. Viable requests will be approved by the PGS investigators before entering into a data sharing contract.

We will follow rules formulated by the American Psychological Association for the assignment of authorship.

For more information, please contact:

Alison Hipwell Ph.D.



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