Pittsburgh Girls Study

The Pittsburgh Girls Study (PGS) is a community-wide longitudinal study of young women in the City of Pittsburgh. The National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the FISA foundation, and the Falk Fund have provided funding for the study. The study is currently being funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

To identify eligible girls, we undertook in 1999-2000 a community-wide survey of households in 90 neighborhoods of the City of Pittsburgh. From this survey of 103,238 households, we identified 3,241 girls aged between five and eight years (disadvantaged neighborhoods have been over sampled).

When we re-contacted the initial sample, 85.3% of the eligible girls and their families agreed to participate in the longitudinal study, resulting in a final sample size of 2,451. The study utilizes multiple informants: the children, their primary caregiver, and their teacher were all being interviewed independently on an annual basis. Data collection for the first study phase began in the Fall of 2000 and was successfully completed in August 2001.

The Pittsburgh Girls Study is currently scheduling follow-up interviews for our current phase! If you have not been contacted yet this year, please call 412-383-5100 for more information.

Resource Sharing

We invite qualified investigators outside of the Pittsburgh Girls Study research team to collaborate with us on analyses and publications. We have procedures in place to enable data sharing while protecting the confidentiality of PGS participants. To obtain de-identified data, investigators will need to submit clearly defined research questions and a detailed description of planned analyses along with copies of their institutional certificates of research practice fundamentals and human subjects research. The PGS investigators will approve viable requests before entering into a data-sharing contract.

We will follow rules formulated by the American Psychological Association for the assignment of authorship.

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Project Goals

The Pittsburgh Girls Study:

  • Focuses on the development of conduct disorders and delinquency in a large inner-city, community sample of preadolescent girls
  • Investigates co-occurring problematic disorders, such as depression, somatisation problems, and substance use
  • Collects information about service delivery and help-seeking
  • Investigates a wide range of risk and protective factors that may influence the course of female problem behaviors across development

Key Findings

Currently, young women are participating in the 15th annual assessment and they are aged between 19 and 22 years. Data was collected from teachers until the girls were aged 16 years. The following cooperation rates have been achieved:

Phase Cooperation Rate
Phase 2 97.20%
Phase 3 95.40%
Phase 4 94.25%
Phase 5 93.10%
Phase 6 92.50%
Phase 7 91.30%
Phase 8 89.19%
Phase 9 88.10%
Phase 10 86.10%
Phase 11 85.64%
Phase 12 85.40%
Phase 13 86.09%
Phase 14 86.25%