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Table 1 Measurement of candidate risk factors

From: Cumulative risk exposure and emotional symptoms among early adolescent girls

Candidate risk factor Measurement Timing
Young relative age Three categories based on birth month: youngest (May–August; n = 2921; 35.1%), middle (January–April, n = 2565; 30.8%) and eldest (September–December; n = 2810; 33.7%), with youngest and middle groups assessed as risk variables
Timing: obtained Spring 2017; age not subject to change over time
Birth month was obtained in Spring 2017 and is not subject to change over time
Low and high academic attainment Average point scores from key stage two statutory assessment tests. As both high and low attainment were assessed as risk factors it was necessary to isolate risk groups in advance of analysis; those in the lowest quartile were considered low attainers (n = 1902; 22.8%) and those in the upper quartile as high attainers (n = 1917; 23%) Attainment recorded based on tests completed one year before self-report, in May 2016
SEN Having SEN with or without a statement of SEN or Education, Health and Care plan (n = 609; 8.3%); note that this is inclusive within England’s approach whereby individuals can be formally recognised as requiring SEN support without necessarily having a statement or plan.a Participants identified as having SEN due to mental health needs were excluded from this risk group given overlap with the outcome variable Data records SEN status as recorded within the NPD in Spring 2017, alongside the self-report completion window
Low family income Current or past FSM eligibility (n = 2982; 35.8%) Data records eligibility at any point since May 2011 up until the most recent NPD census in Spring 2017, alongside the self-report window
Caregiving responsibilities Participants responded yes or no to: “Young carers are children and young people under 18 who provide regular or ongoing care to a family member who has an illness, disability, mental health condition or drug/alcohol dependency. Are you, or have you ever been, a young carer?” Completed at time of participant self-report (March-July 2017) and refers to both current and previous status
Adversity Measured by proxy using binary Child in Need (CIN) status (n = 446; 5.4%), which captures elements of family dysfunction and childhood maltreatment and offers current information rather than relying on participant recall. A child or young person is considered ‘in need’ if it is deemed that: (a) They are not likely to achieve or to maintain reasonable health and development without local authority services and support, (b) their health and development is likely to be substantially impaired without local authority services and support, or (c) they have a disability. This may be due to factors including abuse or neglect, child disability, and family in acute stress. As this differs from the typical checklist approach used in ACEs research, we conceptualise this risk variable more generally as ‘adversity’ rather than adopting the specific concept of ACEs CIN status is regularly reviewed by a social worker and is recorded annually; our data reflects whether CIN status was in place as of 31st March 2017, which is concurrent with the self-report window
Neighbourhood socioeconomic deprivation Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index score, a continuous variable where greater values denote greater deprivationb This statistic is updated several times a year and our data reflects scores recorded in Spring 2017, alongside the self-report window
  1. SEN special educational needs, FSM free school meals, ACEs adverse childhood experiences, CIN child in need
  2. aDepartment for Education (2018c). Special educational needs: Transfer of statements of SEN to education, health and care plans, end March 2018. Ad hoc notice
  3. bRisk variables treated as continuous in risk factor analysis (here, neighbourhood socioeconomic deprivation) found to be statistically significant risk factors are typically dichotomised to allow integration into a CRE index by isolating the upper or lower quartile as appropriate[10]