Family and households

Investigating changing family life, childcare, parenting styles, child developmment, family networks and caring for family members.

Questionnaire grid

Understanding Society has many modules that relate to family and households research areas. The following grid highlights which modules we ask, what types of information is included, and how often the modules are included. Some modules are answered by adults (aged 16 and over), whilst others are asked to the youth panel (aged 10-15).


How often asked?

Broad content

Household Enumeration Grid


Household composition (including leavers and new entrants), relationships between household members

Annual changes


Partnerships changes marriage/civil partnership/divorce/cohabitations


Data on parents and dependent children

Mothers’ Return to Work



New mothers’ plans for returning to work, if any (including reasons for decisions, full or part-time work)




Type/hours of arrangements used (term-time and school holidays) for under 15s

Non-resident partner relationships


Information about the partner and relationship, including any future plans or intentions

Parents and children

Two yearly


Help with homework, importance of qualifications, which school child attends, frequency of activities together (leisure, evening meals, quarrelling, talking), parenting styles


Child Maintenance

Two yearly

Information about CSA/CMS, court orders, and voluntary arrangements (amounts entitled/received, timeliness of receipt), any additional support/services used

Information about absent parent (age, employment status, any other children, type of relationship now/then, decision-making about child) and their relationship with child (frequency of contact, overnight stays)

Parenting Styles – both parents in household

Asked when child is aged 10

UC-Dublin scale: Authoritarian, Authoritative and Permissive dimensions of  parenting (32 items) e.g.

I use physical punishment as a way of disciplining <child name>

I give comfort and understanding when <child name> is upset

Child development – asked of mothers

Asked when child is aged 3

Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale

Reading with child – who, how often

Regular mealtimes and bedtimes


Child development – asked of mothers

Asked when child is aged 5 and 8

Strength and Difficulties questionnaire

Happiness/problems at school

Parental assessment of child risk aversion/patience/delayed gratification


Data on family and partner relationships

Partner Relationships

Two yearly

Quality of relationship – e.g. frequency of quarrelling, kissing, working together

Domestic Labour

Two yearly

Household division of labour – who does or is responsible for what, number of hours

Gender attitudes

Six yearly

Attitudes towards household division of labour

Family Networks

Two yearly


Relatives living outside the household

Information relating to relationship with own parents and own children (adult or child)


Two yearly


Support for those inside and outside the household – relationship, number of hours spent caring and impact on work

Social Networks

Three yearly


Composition: Age, ethnic group, education, job, income, live locally, family members

Family access

Wave 3

Ease of visiting family/friends; reason if difficult

Social support

Three yearly

Quality of relationships with partner, family and friends

Family relations – asked of children and young adults

Asked of all children and young adults aged 10-21

Family: frequency of meals together, arguing/quarrelling, feel supported ; future intentions for marriage, children, leaving home; sibling bullying, quality of relationship with any step parents, parental involvement in education, parental supervision


Asked of children aged 10-15 ONLY Leisure activities with parents/other adults

Child caring – asked of children

Age 10-15

caring for anyone inside the household – relationship, number of hours spent caring and impact on school

Social care

Two yearly for those aged over 65

Type of support needed/received, non-formal providers, formal providers,


Fertility and pregnancy

Fertility intentions


Wave 5

Likelihood of more children, how many


Asked of pregnant women only


Pregnancy – fertility treatment, smoking, alcohol

Pregnancy outcome – live, stillborn, miscarriage, termination, ectopic; multiple births, due date arrival

Delivery method



Baby difficulties – e.g., feeding, sleeping, crying, settling