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Life History Studies Program

Pittsburgh Girls Study

Currently Interviewing!

The Pittsburgh Girls Study is currently scheduling follow-up interviews! For more information contact:

Jen Wilson
Email: bresjl@upmc.edu
Phone: 412-383-5100 or 1-866-647-3433

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, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the FISA foundation, and the Falk Fund.

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 11th annual assessment when the girls are aged 15-18 years. Data are being collected from teachers until the girls are aged 16 years. The following cooperation rates have been achieved:

PhaseCooperation Rate
Phase 297.20%
Phase 395.40%
Phase 494.25%
Phase 593.10%
Phase 692.5%
Phase 791.3%
Phase 889.19%
Phase 988.1%
Phase 1086.1%

We anticipate continuing the study into young adulthood, but this goal depends on future funding.

Resource Sharing

We invite qualified investigators outside of the Pittsburgh Girls Study research team to collaborate with us on analyses and publications. We 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, PhD.

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