The NLSY Kinship Links: Using the NLSY79 and NLSY-Children Data to Conduct Genetically-Informed and Family-Oriented Research

Published In

Behavior Genetics

Document Type


Publication Date



The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth datasets (NLSY79; NLSY-Children/Young Adults; NLSY97) have extensive family pedigree information contained within them. These data sources are based on probability sampling, a longitudinal design, and a crossgenerational and within-family data structure, with hundreds of phenotypes relevant to behavior genetic (BG) researchers, as well as to other developmental and family researchers. These datasets provide a unique and powerful source of information for BG researchers. But much of the information required for biometrical modeling has been hidden, and has required substantial programming effort to uncover—until recently. Our research team has spent over 20 years developing kinship links to genetically inform biometrical modeling. In the most recent release of kinship links from two of the NLSY datasets, the direct kinship indicators included in the 2006 surveys allowed successful and unambiguous linking of over 94 % of the potential pairs. In this paper, we provide details for research teams interested in using the NLSY data portfolio to conduct BG (and other family-oriented) research.



Persistent Identifier