Growing Up in Hungary (Cohort ’18), launched by the Hungarian Demographic Research Institute in early 2018, was able to celebrate the completion of its third, 18-months-old wave in November 2020 under special circumstances. During the 14 months of data collection, as a consequence of the state of emergency ordered due to the spread of the coronavirus, we were forced to suspend personal data collection for three months, which could only be resumed in mid-June.
In the study wave inquiring about children at their 18-months-old age, cohort children and their families were visited in person for the third time after consecutive data collections during pregnancy and at the age of six months. A significant novelty of this phase was that this time it was no longer the health visitors, but the professional interviewers of Inspira Kft., who asked the mothers about the everyday life of their family and the development of their child. Unfortunately, another (unexpected) feature of the data collection was that due to the spread of Covid-19, the fieldwork was suspended from the announcement of the state of emergency in March until its resolution in June, and could only continue under constrained conditions, due to the second wave of the virus in autumn. In the third wave of Cohort ’18 study, therefore, we were unable to visit all involved families. Thus, despite the fact that more than 8,000 mothers responded to our questionnaire at the six-months-old age of their child, we closed the 18-months-old survey with merely around 5,000 respondents. Naturally, we will definitely return to the respondents who were now missing due to the virus situation when inquiring yet again at the three-years-old age of the cohort children!
An important goal of the third study wave was to, apart from visiting mothers, ask fathers and to get to know their point of view. To this end, we compiled a telephone questionnaire of approximately 20 minutes, which covered, among other things, the fathers’ activities with the child, the sharing of childcare responsibilities, the father’s perception of roles, and the difficulties of reconciling work and family life. Unfortunately, access to fathers was also affected by the virus situation, as their involvement was based on the personal contact with mothers during the third study wave. Currently, just before the finishing of the paternity data collection, we can expect a sample of around 2,000 respondents.
What comes next?
The Cohort ’18 study is set to proceed as planned. Recently, another wave of (telephone) inquiry has begun following the 18-months-old wave; this time, focusing primarily on the mothers’ employment. And from the spring of 2021 onwards, we will visit families whose cohort child will turn three, hopefully again in person.
Thank you very much to all our respondents for their continued trust!