Jerald and Virginia Bachman Research Fellowship on Change in American Youth



Jerald and Virginia Bachman

Jerald and Virginia Bachman

The Jerald and Virginia Bachman Fellowship provides support for a graduate student in one of the University of Michigan social science departments (e.g. Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, Economics) and the School of Social Work and the School of Education to examine patterns and changes in the lifestyles and values of American youth and young adults, working with faculty and staff of the Monitoring the Future (MTF) project, and using data from MTF.

MTF is a rich source of data based on large, annual, nationally representative surveys of 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students, as well as graduates followed into young- and mid-adulthood. The study was originally conceived by Jerald Bachman to measure a wide range of attitudes and behaviors, and to sort out changes linked to aging/maturation versus overall secular trends across wide age ranges. Eventually Bachman and his collaborator Lloyd Johnston were able to secure funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which has supported the study continuously beginning with its first data collection in 1975. This ISR Sampler story explores the origins of the MTF.

MTF Logo

Consistent with this funding, the study is widely recognized (indeed, often called a “gold standard”) for its reporting and analyses of data on substance use and related attitudes and behaviors. But the range of measures is far broader than that, including self-concepts, plans and aspirations, and views on a host of social issues. Many of these areas of data have yet to be analyzed extensively; this fellowship is intended to encourage and facilitate such analyses.

There have been dramatic changes in many of the areas measured by MTF, including racial attitudes, attitudes about sex roles, preferences about marriage and the sharing of responsibilities between spouses, views about the U.S. military and military service, and views about the environment, to name only a few. Applicants are encouraged to examine the range of available measures and propose analyses to shed light on one or more of the areas (question wordings and response distributions for the 2012 survey of 12th grade students are available here, or this is the entire list of variables). Analyses could also make use of the MTF cohort-sequential design which follows high school seniors into adulthood with repeated surveys first at two-year intervals and later at five-year intervals.

Support for file building and access to panel data can be arranged. Professor Bachman and other principal investigators may be available for assistance.

Form and Scope of Award

The Bachman Research Fellowship Fund will provide a $5,000 grant to one graduate student from the University of Michigan annually. The Bachman Award is flexible, but we anticipate that the recipient will use the money largely for salary support. Awards are intended for use within one year, but may be extended upon request for an additional six months.


Applicants must be graduate students at the University of Michigan.

Application Procedures

Application should include a three-page with description of the proposed activity with:

  • The title of your project
  • A justification for how the project meets the goals of the Bachman Fund
  • Sufficient detail about hypotheses and design (references are not included in the page limit)
  • Statement of deliverables (e.g. dissertation chapter, conference paper, etc.)

Your application packet should also include:

  • One-page budget with a description of the proposed uses for the money and how these uses will assist in meeting the project’s goals
  • A letter of recommendation from your advisor
  • An up-to-date U-M transcript
  • An up-to-date Curriculum Vitae

Applications are accepted in electronic format. Please submit your application in as few files as possible in Portable Document Format (pdf), and named with the applicant’s last name (e.g., Smith-Bachman App.pdf). Applications and questions about the award should be sent to Jennifer Puckett ( Note, letters of recommendation may be sent directly by the writer in either electronic or hard copy format.

Application Deadline

The deadline for submission is the last Friday in February at 4:00. Final decisions will be made by March 31st, and funds will be available as early as May 1st.

Bachman Fellowship Recipients

Yuan He, 2017, U-M Department of Sociology