Child Indicators Research

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 5–32 | Cite as

Creating a Longitudinal Indicator: an Exploratory Analysis of Turbulence

  • Kristin Anderson MooreEmail author
  • Sharon Vandivere
  • Akemi Kinukawa
  • Thomson Ling


This exploratory paper conceptualizes, develops, and assesses a potential longitudinal indicator of children’s contexts. Three sets of activities are used to create and examine a cumulative, longitudinal measure of turbulence that aggregates children’s experiences with different types of change. The initial step involves conceptualizing a construct based on theory and previous research and distinguishing it from related or similar constructs. A second set of activities involves defining and coding a measure of the construct. A third step involves examining predictive or concurrent validity. Turbulence encompasses varied types of change experienced by a developing child, for example, repeated changes in child care arrangements, family structure, income, residence and schooling. Each has been separately linked to poorer outcomes for children. For this exploratory work, retrospective data collected in Round 1 of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 cohort, were used. A measure was conceptualized and constructed; and the predictive validity of turbulence, over and above background factors, was assessed for a set of adolescent outcomes.

Substantively, we conclude that turbulence is an important and measurable construct, but that better data are needed than currently available. The value of the paper is that it illustrates a general approached for conceptualizing, developing, and examining longitudinal, cumulative indicators.


Cumulative indicators Family structure change Predictive validity Indicator methodology Turbulence Contextual indicators Longitudinal indicators 



This paper was funded by the NICHD Family and Child Well-being Research Network under Grant# HD030930.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristin Anderson Moore
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sharon Vandivere
    • 1
  • Akemi Kinukawa
    • 1
  • Thomson Ling
    • 1
  1. 1.Child TrendsWashingtonUSA

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