The lifespan collection

Bifulco, Antonia [Researcher], Jacobs, Catherine [Researcher], Ilan-Clarke, Yael [Researcher], Bunn, Amanda [Researcher] and Brazier, Laura [Researcher] (2012) The lifespan collection.

Abstract

The Lifespan Collection represents research interview material collected over a 10-year period in the 1990s, of families living in North London. Over 500 family members were involved with each providing their life stories from childhood to the present day. The Collection covers three generations: midlife women (aged 25-55); adolescent offspring both boys and girls (aged 16-30); and older age women (aged 50-85). These represent mother-offspring pairs. The research was part of a rolling programme of Medical Council Research funding through the 1980s and 1990s, investigating psychosocial risks for depression and other common psychological disorders in women and their families. The programmes were originally directed by Professor George Brown, a pioneer in sociology, who advocated the use of contextual interviews for assessing life experience and vulnerability in relation to depression. The last two programme grants (1990-95 and 1995-99) were designed and project managed by Antonia Bifulco and the data was transferred to her after Professor Brown’s retirement and is held by the Lifespan Research Group This unique data set has been the source of many research publications into topics such as childhood neglect/abuse; adult stress and coping; attachment style; self-esteem; relationship with partner and parenting behaviour as well as lifetime psychiatric disorders both affective and behavioural. However, the qualitative aspects are as yet largely untapped and additional analyses still wait to be undertaken. For the 500 and more individuals interviewed about their life history, the collection includes a few thousand audio-tapes containing their narrative accounts.

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