Look how we've changed - New Zealand 38 years on
By Simon Collins and Martin Johnston
5:30 AM Saturday Nov 27, 2010

Two studies of human development, one launched in the 1970s and the other from earlier this year, reveal how different New Zealand society is today.

Rachel Chamberlain reckons her childhood in Dunedin in the 1970s "couldn't have been better".

Now 38 and living in Napier with her husband and three children, Chamberlain is one of 1037 babies born in Dunedin during 1972 and 1973 who have been followed by researchers ever since in New Zealand's oldest longitudinal study of human development.

Every two years at first, then every three years and now about every five years, she has returned to Otago University to have a comprehensive health check-up and answer questions on everything from education to illegal behaviour, from her income to her sex life.

This rich data over such a long period has allowed researchers to trace the long-term effects of genes and experiences dating back to early in life - most famously a gene that, when combined with maltreatment in childhood, is associated with convictions for violence in adulthood.

More here.