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Funded Research

Fragile Families: The Third Generation

The intergenerational persistence of poor health and poverty and the quest to understand underlying processes underscore the importance of rich multigenerational data. Very few existing datasets contain comprehensive information on social, environmental, and biological factors over the life course and across generations; lack of such data has seriously limited attempts to identify the processes shaping health disparities, economic inequalities, and causal linkages between the two. The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FF) is the longest running birth cohort study in the U.S. that is based on a national probability sample. It follows parents (G1, for Generation 1)?both mothers and fathers?and their children (G2) who were born in 1998?2000. Based on birth statistics, the G2 children are now having children of their own. We propose to expand the FF study by conducting a perinatal survey on the health of the third generation (G3) children, early parenthood experiences of G2, and the characteristics of households and families into which G3 are born, as well as collecting biological specimens from the new children and their non-FF parents; we refer to this project as the FFG3 study. The augmented data will have many unique and valuable features, including: (1) extensive data on children (G3), both of their parents (G2), and one set of their grandparents (G1); (2) data on siblings and half-siblings (in G3); (3) three generations of exposures and genetic and epigenetic data; (4) genetic data on trios (G3 children and both of their parents); and (5) comprehensive data on perinatal health (pre-pregnancy, prenatal, delivery, neonatal, and postpartum factors including breastfeeding and postpartum depression) and circumstances in two generations (G2 and G3). The FFG3 study will facilitate novel and important analyses of intergenerational transmission of health, intergenerational relationships within families, and gene*environment effects on health. It will also provide an essential foundation for future G3 data collection at subsequent developmental transitions including school readiness and emerging adulthood.


The Trustees of Columbia University In The City of New York dba Columbia University

Funding Period:

08/19/2021 to 04/30/2026