The original Ontario Child Health Study (OCHS) was a prospective study to evaluate the impact of early childhood experiences and development on later adult health, quality of life and functioning.
The information collected over a 17-year period was unique in Canada because it allowed health to be studied over the long-term. In analyzing data from the three cycles of collection, researchers can address a wide variety of questions on child development, such as:
- Which childhood emotional problems and difficulties disappear as a child matures and grows up and which tend to persist and need attention?
- Does childhood health, early family life or the neighbourhood in which you grew up exert an influence, on adult health, employment, lifestyle and satisfaction?
In 1983, Statistics Canada and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, collected information on 3,294 Ontario children aged 4 to 16 years living in 1869 families.
The main purpose of this original study was to look at the overall health of children in Ontario, to see how their health needs were being met and to identify factors which help or hinder their development.
- Identify patterns and trends of various social, emotional and mental disorders among Ontario children and adolescents.
- Find out about the impact of these disorders on children and adolescents’ quality of life.
- Identify risk factors for various social, emotional and mental disorders.
- Find out how much children and adolescents use mental health and health-related services.
- The levels of mental health disorder among children and adolescents varied from urban (19.6%) to rural (15.3%) contexts.
- Children who had a chronic physical illness were significantly more likely to have a mental health disorder (27.6%) compared to children without a chronic physical illness (14.6%).
- Risk of mental health disorder among children living in poor families was significantly higher (34.1%) compared to children living in non-poor families (15.3%).
- Only 1 in 5 children with a mental health disorder had been to a mental health or social service provider.
- Highlighted health linkages between emotional, behavioural, social & academic functioning
- Advocacy: highlighted high levels of child mental health need & inadequate system response
- Led to development of programs and policies to support children exposed to poverty and income inequality: Early Child Development Initiatives (1990, $350Million; 2000 $1billion); Healthy Babies, Healthy Children; Ontario Early Years Centres
- Created the platform for large-scale studies of population health: The methods and results from the 1983 OCHS informed the development and implementation of Statistics Canada’s National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, and the National Population Health Survey.
A follow-up study with these same children was conducted in 1987. The study provided important information on how the health of these children had changed over four years and which factors seemed to influence these changes.
A second follow-up was completed in 2001 when the original group of children were young adults between 21 and 33 years of age. These assessments allowed researchers to examine the possible influences of early experiences on important life transitions, such as joining the workforce, entering into a relationship with someone or becoming a parent.
The principal investigators for this study were Drs. Michael Boyle, Cameron Mustard and the late Dan Offord. Dr. Boyle is a core member and current Director, and Dr. Offord was first Director of the Offord Centre for Child Studies which is co-sponsored by McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences. Dr. Mustard is President & Senior Scientist at the Institute for Work & Health. The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.
SAMPLE 1983, 1987, 2000
Table 1. OCHS Response by Households in 1983
|Prev. by stress life event or lang or didn’t
agree to share
|Eligibility not determined||45||2.2|
Table 2. OCHS Response by Subject Age, Sex and Type of Response in 1983, 1987 and 2001
|YearAge (yrs)Sex||N||Completed%||Partial%||Refused%||Not traced%|
PDF version of this data [PDF file, 1 page, 9 Kb]
Table of Concepts
Table of Concepts 1983 – 1987 [ PDF file, 6 pages, 39 Kb]
Not all Questionnaires for 1983 are available in electronic form at this time.
Youth Self-report (for ages 12 to 16): OCHS 3A [PDF file, 7 pages, 9.2 MB]
Child Behaviour Checklist (for ages 4 to 16): OCHS 3B [PDF file, 5 pages, 7.6 MB]
Child Behaviour Checklist Teacher’s Report Form: OCHS 3C [PDF file, 6 pages, 6.9 MB]
Table of Concepts
Table of Concepts 1983 – 1987 [ PDF file, 6 pages, 39 Kb]
Not all Questionnaires for 1987 are available in electronic form at this time.
Youth Self-report (for ages 12 to 16): OCHS 3A [PDF file, 9 pages, 14.5 MB]
Child Behaviour Checklist (for ages 4 to 16): OCHS 3B [PDF file, 6 pages, 8.1 MB]
Child Behaviour Checklist Teacher’s Report Form (for ages 4 to 11): OCHS S1 [PDF file, 6 pages, 6.6 MB]
Child Behaviour Checklist Teacher’s Report Form (for ages 12 to 16): OCHS S2 [PDF file, 5 pages, 5.0 MB]
OCHS 2000 Complete Questionnaire (All Forms) [PDF file, 255 pages, 80 4.0 MB]
OCHS 2000 Form 1 [PDF file, 3 pages, 80 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 2, Section A [PDF file, 23 pages, 154 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 2, Section B [PDF file, 40 pages, 471 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 2, Section C [PDF file, 24 pages, 331 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 2, Section D [PDF file, 3 pages, 87 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 2, Section E [PDF file, 12 pages, 153 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 2, Section F [PDF file, 1 pages, 52 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 2, Section G [PDF file, 3 pages, 71 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 3 [PDF file, 27 pages, 343 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 4 [PDF file, 24 pages, 286 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 5, Section A-B [PDF file, 12 pages, 745 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 5, Section C [PDF file, 10 pages, 663 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 5, Section D [PDF file, 10 pages, 537 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 5, Section E [PDF file, 9 pages, 399 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 5, Section F [PDF file, 8 pages, 574 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 5, Section G [PDF file, 7 pages, 554 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 5, Section H [PDF file, 7 pages, 250 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 5, Section J [PDF file, 7 pages, 138 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 5, Section K [PDF file, 6 pages, 124 Kb]
OCHS 2000 Form 6 [PDF file, 19 pages, 180 Kb]
1983 Codebook [ PDF file, 10 pages, 40Kb]
1987 Codebook [ PDF file, 11 pages, 42Kb]
2000 Codebook [ PDF file, 10 pages, 48Kb]
1983 & 1987
OCHS Publications 1983 – 1987 [PDF file, 7 pages, 29 Kb]
OCHS: Evaluation of Sample Loss & Adjustments
Michael Boyle MS PowerPoint, 25 slides
The relationship between childhood physical and sexual abuse and depression in a community sample of young adults
Ellen Jamieson MS PowerPoint, 17 slides
Childhood health status and inter-generational socioeconomic mobility in the Ontario Child Health Study
Cameron Mustard MS PowerPoint, 15 slides
Intergenerational Economic Mobility in the Ontario Child Health Study
Martin Dooley MS PowerPoint, 23 slides
Effects of adolescent substance use in young adulthood
Kathy Hadjiyannakis MS PowerPoint, 18 slides
Impact of Being Born to a Teen Mother on Psychosocial Functioning
Ellen Lipman MS PowerPoint, 19 slides
Self-Perceived Health in Early Adulthood: An examination of distal, childhood effects
John Cairney MS PowerPoint, 15 slides
Effect of neighbourhood disadvantage in childhood on labour force participation in early adulthood
Peter Wilk MS PowerPoint, 21 slides
The individual as moderating agent for long term impact of sexual abuse
Kristen Cleverly MS PowerPoint, 15 slides
Because of confidentiality requirements and agreements signed with Statistics Canada, it is not possible to allow full access to these data to interested researchers. Anyone interested in analyzing OCHS data is invited to complete a data access application (see below).