2020 Colloquium

10:00–10:15AM: Morning Tea

10:15–10:45AM: Introduction to COMPASS Research Centre

Barry Milne

A general overview of the research being undertaken at the Centre of Methods and Policy Application in the Social Sciences, by its Director.

10:45–11:30AM: Going Straight Home? Housing for people leaving prison

Alice Mills & Cinnamon Lindsay

This is a mixed methods study funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand's Marsden Fund. It aims to explore the role of stable housing in reducing recidivism among former prisoners in Aotearoa New Zealand. This presentation will draw upon the quantitative part of the study, which involves structured interviews with over 200 prisoners: prior to release, and then six months after release. It will examine their release journeys and compare their pre-release housing hopes and expectations with the realities of finding and keeping accommodation after leaving prison.

11:30AM–12:00PM: Child Poverty & Health in New Zealand

Barry Milne

This project investigates the impact of poverty on health outcomes, explores which aspects of poverty dynamics have the greatest impact on health outcomes, and identifies which factors most strongly mediate the association between poverty and health. We report associations between income poverty and health, and between deprivation and health, in children across three data sources:

  1. New Zealand Survey of Families, Income, and Employment (SoFIE);
  2. New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings (2013); and
  3. Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC).

Patterns were similar across the three, with weak associations between income poverty and health, but stronger associations between material and neighbourhood deprivation and health, across all of the health outcomes investigated.

12:00–12:30PM: The New Zealand Socio-economic Index (NZSEI) for the 2018 Census

Natalia Boven & Barry Milne

The NZSEI is a socio-economic scale which assigns scores based on occupation. The theoretical basis for the NZSEI is the ‘returns to human capital’ model, which views occupation as the means by which one’s education is converted into income. Occupation-based socio-economic scales (NZSEI, and prior to that the Elley-Irving scale) have been computed using New Zealand Census data since the 1966 Census. Here we describe the development of the NZSEI using 2018 Census data, and report on tests to assess the performance of the scale, especially in light of the high use of imputed data and other data sources for the 2018 Census.

12:30–1:15PM: Lunch

1:15–1:45PM: A Better Start National Science Challenge: An update on recent findings

Barry Milne

The Better Start “E Tipu E Rea” National Science Challenge aims to understand and address issues facing children and young people in New Zealand, with a particular focus on three themes:

  1. Healthy Weight;
  2. Resilient Teens; and
  3. Successful Literacy and Learning.

COMPASS leads the ‘Big Data’ component of the challenge, which aims to support the three substantive themes in achieving their goals. I will describe the second phase of the research, which began in early 2020, and has a greater focus on intervention. I will also report on findings from analysis of whole population (IDI) data to understand the epidemiology and risk factors associated with outcomes in the three theme areas.

1:45–2:15PM: Trends in the dispensing of antidepressant medication during pregnancy

Stephanie D'Souza

Global trends have shown an increase in antidepressant exposure during pregnancy, particularly with the use of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This project examines whether increased dispensing of antidepressants have also been observed in New Zealand’s pregnant population.

We investigated antidepressant dispensing to all resident New Zealanders with at least one successful pregnancy, over the period 2007/08 to 2017/18. We further explored dispensing by medication type, trimester, ethnicity, age, and area-level deprivation. This all indicated increased use of antidepressants among pregnant New Zealanders, paralleling global trends, although demographic differences were apparent. Differences may reflect barriers to access for certain groups relative to others.

2:15–2:45PM: Association between birth modality and education outcomes

Eileen Li

Caesarean section (C-section) is a life-saving intervention but its increasing use has caused concerns that the procedure may lead to short-term and long-term health effects for women and children. It has been hypothesised that C-section delivery may negatively impact cognitive development, possibly through the mechanism of altered colonisation and composition of early life gut microbiota. This study investigated the association between mode of delivery and secondary school educational outcomes: NCEA Level 2 Percentile Score, Level 2 Highest Endorsement and University Entrance. Results indicate no evidence of C-section birth having a negative impact on the educational outcomes measured, and suggest that C-section delivery is not a risk factor for poor secondary school educational achievement.