About the Québec Longitudinal Study of Child Development (QLSCD)
The Québec Longitudinal Study of Child Development (QLSCD) was designed with the express intent of furthering our knowledge of child development. Its main objective has been to identify factors that, coming into play during early childhood, affect the social adjustment and academic performance of young Quebeckers.
The first round (i.e., the first year of Phase I) of the QLSCD was conducted in 1998 on a cohort of 2,120 Québec infants who were to be followed annually from 5 months to about 4 years of age. This representative sample included children (single births) born in Québec in 1997-1998.
So far, the data collected during this first phase (1998-2002) have enabled researchers to evaluate the influence of particular milieus (family, child care and the broader social environment) on various aspects of well-being. For instance, quite a few studies dealing with health, development (motor, social and cognitive), behaviour, diet, sleep, the family and economic environment, use of child care, etc., have already been performed. The publication of several of these was underwritten by the Direction Santé Québec (DSQ) of the Institut de la statistique du Québec ( ISQ) (see the 24 issues published in the first two volumes of the QLSCD collection, which appeared in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003, and the four fascicles of volume 3, which appeared in 2004 and 2005). Note that the researchers, students and professionals working on this project are now pursuing a number of projects that use data collected during the first phase of the study.
The second phase of the QLSCD (2003-2011) extends the QLSCD 1998-2002 and will continue to collect required information using a computerized questionnaire, paper instruments and tests. The data collection will be carried out in four waves across Québec, each lasting about a month (from March to June): once a year until the children reach the second year of primary school (kindergarten, first and second years) and then biannually to the end of primary school (fourth and sixth years). The methodological specifications for the QLSCD 2003-2011 have been determined by the Institut de la statistique du Québec and its partners (the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux , the ministère de la Famille, des Aînés et de la Condition féminine, the ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport , the Fondation Lucie and André Chagnon and academic researchers).
It is particularly important that QLSCD activities continue because the children who have been followed for the past six years are now beginning primary school. Starting in 2003, we will collect data that will help us understand developmental factors that favour academic success in primary school in light of children’s life experiences in early childhood. Moreover, the fact that longitudinal studies by definition cover the long term means that not only may a wealth of research questions be explored, but also that the understanding that emerges from them will be comprehensive. This knowledge will be useful, we hope, in establishing social and family policies that will promote smoother and more consistent development among Québec children, for they are the future of Québec.