Prospective Studies to Investigate Behavioral Change

  • Michael Rutter


Prospective or longitudinal studies are time consuming and expensive to undertake, they are subject to a variety of sampling hazards and the data obtained are difficult to analyze. Individuals for longitudinal study are often chosen in terms of their accessibility and cooperativeness; this fact and the sample attrition over time render many longitudinal samples biased and unrepresentative. The varying sample size at different stages during the study and the hazards of data linkage have meant that most longitudinal studies have used only cross-sectional methods of analysis. That is to say, most analyses have consisted of group associations or correlations between a variable at point B or point C, but only rarely has there been an attempt to examine individual changes in behavior over time. These and other criticisms of the longitudinal approach are fair and valid but for certain types of research questions longitudinal data are essential.


Psychiatric Disorder Personality Disorder Predictive Validity Poor Reader Behavior Scale 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Rutter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryInstitute of PsychiatryLondonEngland

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