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Associations between cohort study participation and self-reported health and well-being: the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 Study
  1. Heli Taanila1,
  2. Anna Reetta Rönkä2,
  3. Sirkka Keinänen-Kiukaanniemi3,4,5,
  4. Jari Jokelainen6,7,
  5. Tanja Nordström3,4,6,
  6. Anja Taanila3,
  7. Tuula Hurtig8,9
  1. 1Research Unit of Clinical Medicine, Psychiatry, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
  2. 2History of Sciences and Ideas, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
  3. 3Center for Life Course Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
  4. 4Medical Research Center, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
  5. 5Healthcare and Social Services of Selänne, Pyhäjärvi, Finland
  6. 6Northern Finland Birth Cohorts, Arctic Biobank, Infrastructure for Population Studies, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
  7. 7Unit of General Practice, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
  8. 8Research Unit of Clinical Medicine, Psychiatry, Child Psychiatry, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
  9. 9Clinic of Child Psychiatry, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
  1. Correspondence to Heli Taanila, Research Unit of Clinical Medicine, Psychiatry, University of Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland; heli.taanila{at}gmail.com

Abstract

Aim The aim of this study was to explore whether active participation in a longitudinal birth cohort study is associated with study participants’ health behaviour and well-being.

Methods The subjects of this study were part of the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966. The follow-up data were collected through clinical examinations and questionnaires when the cohort members were 1, 14, 31 and 46 years old. In this study, cohort participation activity was divided into three categories: active, semiactive and least active.

Results The total number of study participants who participated in the 46-year follow-up on both the survey and clinical trials was 6392, of which 66.5% (n=4268) participated actively in the cohort study. A total of 67.6% were female (p<0.001). Of the participants, 23.7% (n=1519) were semiactive and 9.5% (n=605) were the least active. Women who participated least actively experienced statistically significantly more depressive symptoms and poorer health, were more dissatisfied with their lives and had more addiction problems. In men, there was not a statistically significant association between participation activity and these well-being variables other than addiction problems and mental health.

Conclusions The findings indicate that participation activity is associated with better self-reported health and well-being, especially among women. With this knowledge, people can be encouraged to participate in longitudinal health research and, at the same time, may improve their own health and quality of life.

  • longitudinal studies
  • health
  • epidemiology

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available. NFBC data is available from the University of Oulu, Infrastructure for Population Studies. Permission to use the data can be applied for research purposes via electronic material request portal. In the use of data, the University of Oulu follows the EU general data protection regulation (679/2016) and Finnish Data Protection Act.

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Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request. Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available. NFBC data is available from the University of Oulu, Infrastructure for Population Studies. Permission to use the data can be applied for research purposes via electronic material request portal. In the use of data, the University of Oulu follows the EU general data protection regulation (679/2016) and Finnish Data Protection Act.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors HT has written the paper and is responsible for the overall content as a guarantor, ARR, SK-K, AT and TH read and comment on the paper, JJ and TN performed the statistical analyses. All authors contributed to and have approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding Academy of Finland project funding. Project: Lives over time: Birth cohort studies as a form of scientific knowledge production (LIVES). Grant number: 318458.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.