Longitudinal studies: theory and methods



The article reviews contemporary approaches to understanding longitudinal designs as a group of methods aimed at testing a specific class of hypotheses (about change, its functional form and dynamic parameters). We provide a description of main longitudinal designs and point out their limitations, along with analyzing major validity threats specific to longitudinal studies: the critical review of methodological and methodical problems and possibilities of overcoming them is completed by the brief description of the main statistical approaches for analyzing longitudinal data.

General Information

Keywords: longitudinal study, longitudinal design, longitudinal validity, repeated measures hierarchical linear modeling

Journal rubric: Mathematical Psychology

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Kornilov S.A. Longitudinal studies: theory and methods. Eksperimental'naâ psihologiâ = Experimental Psychology (Russia), 2011. Vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 101–116. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Burmenskaja G. V. Longitjudnyj metod // Jeksperiment i kvazijeksperiment v psihologii / Pod red. T. V. Kornilovoj. SPb.: Piter, 2004. S. 180–192.
  2. Kornilov S. A., Grigorenko E. L., Smirnov S. D. Longitjudnoe issledovanie akademicheskih, tvorcheskih i prakticheskih sposobnostej kak predposylok uspeshnosti obuchenija // Voprosy psihologii. 2009. № 5. S. 54–65.
  3. Kornilova T. V. Jeksperimental'naja psihologija. Teorija i metody. M.: Aspekt-Press, 2003.
  4. Kornilova T. V., Kornilov S. A., Chumakova M. A. Longitjudnoe issledovanie dinamiki uspeshnosti reshenija studentami analiticheskih, tvorcheskih i prakticheskih zadanij // Psihologicheskaja nauka i obrazovanie. 2010. № 1. S. 55–68.
  5. Mitina O. V. Modelirovanie latentnyh izmenenij s pomow'ju strukturnyh uravnenij // Jeksperimental'naja psihologija. 2008.T. 1. № 1. S. 131–148.  
  6. Baltes P. B., Nesselroade J. R. History and rationale of longitudinal research // Longitudinal research in the study of behavior and development / Eds. J. R. Nesselroade, P. B. Baltes. N.Y: Academic Press, 1979. P. 61–87.
  7. Bollen K. A., Curran P. J. Latent curve models: A structural equation perspective. Hoboken. N.J.: John Wiley, 2006.
  8. Cook N. R., Ware J. H. Design and analysis methods for longitudinal research // Annual Review of Public Health. 1983. № 4. P. 1–24.
  9. Glenn N. Cohort analysis. Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE, 1977.
  10. Flynn J. R. What environmental factors affect intelligence: The relevance of IQ gains over time // Current topics in human intelligence. V. 5: The environment / Ed. D. Detterman. Norwood. N. J.: Ablex, 1996. P. 17–29.
  11. Graham J. W. Missing data analysis: Making it work in the real world // Annual Review of Psychology. 2009. № 60. P. 549–576.
  12. Graham J. W., Hofer S. M. Multiple imputation in multivariate research // Modeling Longitudinal and Multiple-Group Data: Practical Issues, Applied Approaches, and Specific Examples / Eds. T. D. Little, K. U. Schnabel, J. Baumert. Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum, 2000. P. 201–218.
  13. Holland P. Statistics and causal inference // Journal of American Statistical Association. 1986. V. 81. № 396. P. 945–960.
  14. Mason K. O., Mason W. M., Winsborough H., Poole W. K. Some methodological issues in cohort analysis of archival data // American Sociological Review. 1973. № 32. P. 242–258.
  15. Menard S. Longitudinal Research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE, 2002.
  16. Menard S. Introduction: Longitudinal research design and analysis // Handbook of longitudinal research / Ed. S. Menard. N.Y.: Elsevier, 2008. P. 3–12.
  17. Menard S., Elliot D. S., Huizinga D. The dynamics of deviant behavior: A national survey progress report (National Youth Survey Progress Report No. 49). Boulder, CO: Institute of Behavioral Science, 1989.
  18. Mitchell T. R., James L. R. Building better theory: Time and the specification of when things happen // Academy of Management Review. 2001. № 26. P. 530–547.
  19. Newcomb M. D., Bentler P. M. Consequences of adolescent drug use: Impact on the lives of young adults. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1988.
  20. Ployhart R. E., Vandenberg R. J. Longitudinal research: The theory, design, and analysis of change // Journal of Management. 2010. V. 36. № 1. P. 94–120.
  21. Raudenbush S. W. Comparing personal trajectories and drawing causal inferences from longitudinal data // Annual Review of Psychology. 2001. № 52. P. 501–525.
  22. Raudenbush S. W, Bryk A. S. Hierarchical Linear Models: Applications and Data Analysis Methods (2nd ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2002.
  23. Rosenbaum P., Rubin D. The central role of the propensity score in observational studies for causal effects // Biometrika. 1983. № 17. P. 41–55.
  24. Rubin D. Estimating causal effects of treatments in randomized and non-ran- domized studies // Journal of Educational Psychology. 1974. № 66. P. 688–701.
  25. Rubin D. Inference and missing data // Biometrika. 1976. № 63. P. 581–592.
  26. Ryder N. B. The cohort as a concept in the study of social change // American Sociological Review. 1965. № 32. P. 843–861.
  27. Singer J. D., Willet J. B. Applied longitudinal data analysis: Modeling change and event occurrence. N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  28. Terman L. M., Oden M. H. Genetic studies of genius: The gifted child grows up. Twenty five years’ follow-up of a superior group. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1947.
  29. Thomae H. The Bonn Gerontologic Longitudinal Study (BOLSA) // Zeitschrift für Gerontologie, 1993. V. 26. № 3. P. 142–150.
  30. Twisk J. W. R. Causal inference in longitudinal experimental research // Handbook of longitudinal research / Ed. S. Menard. N. Y.: Elsevier, 2008. P. 279–294.
  31. Wall W. D., William H. L. Longitudinal studies and the social sciences. London: Heinemann, 1970.
  32. Willet J. B. Some results on reliability for the longitudinal measurement of change: Implications for the design of studies of individual growth // Educational and Psychological Measurement. 1989. № 49. P. 587–602.
  33. Vanderberg R. J. Toward improving measurement invariance methods and procedures // Organization Reasearch Methods. 2002. № 5. P. 139–158.

Information About the Authors

Sergey A. Kornilov, PhD in Psychology, Seattle, USA, e-mail: sa.kornilov@gmail.com



Total: 31893
Previous month: 100
Current month: 264


Total: 6841
Previous month: 4
Current month: 11