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About Twenty-07: Background to the Twenty-07 Study

The West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study: 'Health in the community' was set up in 1986 in order to investigate the reasons for differences in health by socio-economic circumstances, gender, the place where people live, age, ethnic group and family type. 

The basic design of the Study involved recruiting three cohorts (groups) of volunteers, each group born twenty years apart. Members of the oldest cohort were born around 1932, those in the middle cohort were born in 1952, and those in the youngest cohort were born in 1972.

A total of 4,510 people agreed to take part, and have been followed for 20 years. The final wave of data collection was completed in 2008.

This means that when the Study began (1987/8) participants were 15, 35 or 55 years old, and by the end of the Study (2007/8), participants were 35, 55 and 75 years old.

In this way, the Twenty-07 Study provides unique opportunities to investigate changes in two ways:

  • Firstly, to investigate changes in people's lives over 20 years and how these affect their health.  The participants’ ages were chosen to examine critical points in the lifespan, by tracking the three age cohorts as they make the transition from adolescence to working life, through the main part of working life, and from working life to retirement.
  • Secondly, to investigate the differences in people's experiences at the same age but 20 years apart, and how these have different effects on their health, e.g. a 55 year old in 1987 can be compared to a 55 year old in 2007.

A full description of the cohort profile is available here

Cohort Profile: West of Scotland 20-07 study: health in the community. International Journal of Epidemiology 2009;38:1215-23