The RELACHS Study

It’s been a little while since I made a post here, having spent some time fixing other parts of the site. But I’ll make a dip back into the BRIN blog by flagging up the RELACHS survey.

RELACHS is not yet listed in the BRIN database, either because it’s a community survey (which are not generally in scope) or because at first sight it wasn’t a specifically religious survey. The research team are epidemiology and mental health specialists, with the East London and City Health Authority funding the first phase. It’s a longitudinal study of young people in East London, based in schools in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham. The first wave was run in 2001, with 30 schools taking part, involving 2,800 students from years 7 (11-12) and 9 (13-14). The second phase followed up the students in 2003, and the third followed up the students aged 11-12 in 2001 in 2005, when they were 15 and 16.

However, the geographic area surveyed is highly diverse in ethnic and religious terms, and the questionnaires included items on religious identity, frequency of religious practice, experience of religiously or racially-motivated bullying, and on issues such as sexual behaviour and traditional dress. Researchers interested in the relationship between religiosity and health – mental health, obesity, alcohol use – will find the published outputs very useful.

For example, DCSF sponsored a paper reporting the religious and cultural factors assocaited with adolescent sexual behaviour, available here:

http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/rw42d.pdf

The questionnaires and summaries of findings to date can be found on the RELACHS website at http://www.relachs.org

The published outputs so far seem very interesting, crossing the boundary between sociology and epidemiology. However, there is undoubtedly more to be gleaned, particularly by researchers interested in youth religiosity. It’s not clear whether the data have been archived yet for use by other researchers – I’ll post here when I learn more.


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One Response to The RELACHS Study

  1. As I half-expected, the dataset is proprietary, partly because it is funded privately and partly because the data are extremely sensitive. The primary research team is still working with the data, so there are more results to come.

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