What is the Child Health Study?

The Child Health Study is a research study designed to better understand how life experiences cause changes in biology that can affect child health and well-being. Child development is a life-changing subject that needs more research. We are researching children’s health so we can improve it in the future.

Want to Participate?

Children ages 8-13 and their caregiver may be eligible to participate and will be reimbursed for their time.

During our study, you will complete questionnaires, interviews, health and behavior assessments, and do experimental tasks.

This is approximately a five-year longitudinal study. Participants will have two follow-up study visits. We will also have follow-up phone calls to stay in contact between study visits. We hope to develop long lasting relationships with our participants over this five year period!

If you are interested in participating please contact us by e-mail at childhealthstudy@psu.edu or by phone at 1-888-924-4535.

Who is eligible to participate?

Children ages 8-13 who live in Pennsylvania and are developmentally on track without a significant reading disability may be eligible to participate. A caregiver must be willing to participate and English must be the first language used in your home.

Do I need my parent’s permission?

Yes, parent’s permission is mandatory. One custodial parent will also be asked to participate.

What is involved in this study? What do I have to do to participate?

We would pay for you and a caregiver to come to Penn State (State College, PA) to complete Child Health Day, including spending a night in a hotel.

Participation will include an initial study visit followed by two more Health Days over the next four years. There will also be follow-up phone calls in between visits.

What happens during a study visit?

During Health Day you would fill out questionnaires about your experiences in life and current health. You would be asked to complete several experimental tasks. You and your caregiver would also take part in a videotaped conversation so we can understand how communication impacts health. You would also provide blood and saliva samples so that we can understand how your environment is shaping different aspects of biological health. You would complete a brain scan that would allow  us to look at how your brain is developing.

Health Day lasts from 8am to 4pm and includes a comprehensive health assessment by a health professional, education on healthy lifestyles, free breakfast and lunch and creative activities.

What if I don’t want to answer all of the questions?

You may feel uncomfortable answering some of the questions, and you don’t have to answer them all if you don’t want to. We don’t foresee any problems, but if at any time you feel uncomfortable, just let your interviewer know and you can stop. Your participation in this study is completely voluntary, and if you decide to take part in the research study, you are free to withdraw at any time.

What do I get out of it?

There are no direct benefits, but the information learned from the study may benefit other children in the future. Participants will also be compensated for their time. $480 for three visits over four years and $40 for four check-in phone calls totaling $520 for complete participation.

Who is funding the study? Who is directing the study?

The study is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. The study is directed by Dr. Jennie Noll, the researcher, at Penn State University.

How many children are recruited for the study?

1200 girls and boys from all over Pennsylvania, along with a caregiver, will be recruited for our study.

What if I don’t want anyone to know what I’m answering during the study?

Your name will not be used on any of the questionnaires, but instead we will use a number. We abide by the utmost standards of confidentiality to ensure the anonymity of our participants. Your answers will not be shared, not even with your caregiver.

How can I contact you if I have a question?

Researchers are available to answer any of your questions about the study. Dr. Noll’s research staff can be reached by e-mail at childhealthstudy@psu.edu or by phone at 1-888-924-4535.