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University of Cambridge
Peterborough Adolescent and Young Adult Development Study

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An Overview of PADS+...


The Peterborough Adolescent and Young Adult Development Study (PADS+) is an ongoing ESRC-funded longitudinal study which started in 2002 and will continue until 2012. Its main objective is to identify the key individual and environmental factors which influence social behaviour during the transition from child to adulthood. PADS is especially interested in understanding the causal processes which link these factors to social behaviour, and the interaction between individual and environmental factors which leads individuals to perceive certain behaviours as viable alternatives for action and induces them to choose those rather than other alternatives.

SAT model

For more information on the theory behinds PADS+, click here.

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Research Design

The study has collected longitudinal data annually from over 700 young people in Peterborough who were randomly selected from the cohort which entered year 7 in 2002, starting in 2004, when participants were 12-13 years old, and will continue until 2012, when they will be 20-21 years old. It also collected retrospective data from participants’ parents in 2003.

Study Design

For more information on the PADS+ study design, click here.
For more information on the PADS+ sample, click here.

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The study utilises a questionnaire which covers topics such as family life, school experience, peer groups, community characteristics and individual characteristics such as moral values and self-control. Psychometric tests are used to measure aspects of cognition and decision making. A Space-Time Budget is used to collect data on participants’ daily activities, including where they take place, who is present, and the geographical location. This novel methodology provides PADS+ with unique information about where participants spend their time, who they spend it with, and how this changes as participants mature.

Interaction Flow Chart

For more information on PADS+ methodology, click here.

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Community Survey

PADS+ also encompasses the Peterborough Community Survey (PCS), a large scale postal survey undertaken in 2005, which collected comprehensive data on Peterborough’s social environments. Together, PADS and PCS data present a detailed picture of how social environments in Peterborough differ and how this affects young people who take part in those environments and their social activities.

The PCS page is currently under construction! Please check back soon!

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PADS+ analyses are ongoing. This extensive, multifaceted data set presents innumerable analytical opportunities and it will be some time before these are fully realised. Preliminary findings suggest the importance of the interaction between individual characteristics, especially moral values, and environmental factors such as monitoring and supervision, as well as the importance of separating causes of crime (such as poor moral values) from more distant causes of the causes (such as disadvantage).


For more information on findings from PADS+, click here.

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The PADS+ research team attends a number of conferences and workshops annually, sharing research highlights.

For more information on PADS+ activities, click here.

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Explanation of CrimeThe team is also active in publishing information on PADS+ theory, methodology and findings. A number of chapters and referred articles are already available, and the team is currently compiling two books, one on the PCS and one on the first phase of PADS+ (2002-2007).

For more information on PADS+ publications, click here.


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Collaborative Research

The team advises a number of comparative studies and has forged collaborations with researchers and research teams across Europe and North America.

For more information on PADS+ collaborations, click here.

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PADS+ provides a unique perspective on young people in a recent and therefore relevant cohort, their social behaviours and the environments in which those behaviours occur. It has the potential to answer many questions about social behaviour during this often difficult transitional phase and inform social policy to benefit young people and the communities in which they live.

We invite you to explore the PADS+ website. Visit our News page for the very latest on PADS+ activities, from data collection to publications. Visit our Events page to look for upcoming workshops and conferences. Or visit our Research pages to learn more about this innovative study!

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Funded by the