We are IALSA


The Integrative Analysis of Longitudinal Studies of Aging (IALSA) network is an international collaboration for reproducible longitudinal research on life course studies.

The study of aging and health-related change demands an integrative developmental framework, involving interdisciplinary collaborations and advanced methodological approaches to understand how and why individuals change with age, in both normative and idiosyncratic ways. Longitudinal studies also provide a basis for the early detection of change related to neurodegenerative disorder and the idetification of periods in the lifespan when interventions will potentially have their greatest impact.

IALSA studies include research on change in cognitive and physical capabilities, health, personality, and well-being along the lifespan. IALSA has also provided core funding for the development of research tools central to the Maelstrom research catalogue (https://www.maelstrom-research.org), facilitating metadata discoverability and harmonization projects.

Our Work

Analysis Projects

Displaying 1 - 81 of 81
Clouston et al., under review. Famine exposure in adolescence and lifetime cognition

 Analyses from a natural experiment of 87,080 older Europeans.

Duggan et al., under review. Meta-analysis: pulmonary function and cognition in aging.

Multi-study coordinated meta-analysis of pulmonary functioning and cognitive ability.

Graham et al., under review. Does personality change?

A replication study of trajectories of big-five personality traits across 15 longitudinal studies on aging.

Zammit et al., under review. Association between grip strength and cognitive function in older adults.

A coordinated multi-study analysis of the longitudinal between cognition and grip strength in aging.

Karr et al., 2018. When does cognitive decline begin?

Older adults who ultimately develop dementia experience accelerated cognitive decline long before diagnosis. A similar acceleration in cognitive decline occurs in the years before death as well. To evaluate preclinical and terminal cognitive decline, past researchers have incorporated change points in their analyses of longitudinal data, identifying point estimates of how many years prior to diagnosis or death that decline begins to accelerate.

Zammit et al., 2018. Associations between aging-related changes in grip strength and cognitive function in older adults: A systematic review.

Objectives. Grip strength and cognitive function reflect upper body muscle strength and mental capacities. Cross-sectional research has suggested that in old age these two processes are moderately to highly associated, and that an underlying common cause drives this association. Our aim was to synthesize and evaluate longitudinal research addressing whether changes in grip strength are associated with changes in cognitive function in healthy older adults.

Duggan et al., 2018. Systemative review of pulmonary function and cognition in aging.

Background: Substantial research is dedicated to understanding the aging-related dynamics among individual differences in level, change, and variation across physical and cognitive abilities. Evaluating replicability and synthesizing findings has been limited by differences in measurements, samples, study design and statistical analyses which confound between-person differences with within-person changes. Here, we systematically reviewed longitudinal results on the aging-related dynamics linking pulmonary function and cognitive performance.

Robitaille et al., 2018. Transitions across cognitive states and death among older adults in relation to education: a multi-state survival model using data from six longitudinal studies.

Introduction: This study examines the role of educational attainment, an indicator of cognitive reserve, on transitions in later life between cognitive states (normal Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), mild MMSE impairment, and severe MMSE impairment) and death. Methods: Analysis of six international longitudinal studies was performed using a coordinated approach. Multistate survival models were used to estimate the transition patterns via different cognitive states. Life expectancies were estimated.

Knight et al., 2018. Olfactory Identification and Episodic Memory in Older Adults

Objectives: To determine whether assessment-to-assessment fluctuations in episodic memory (EM) reflect fluctuations in olfaction over time.

Yoneda et al., 2018. Increases in Neuroticism May Be an Early Indicator of Dementia

Objectives: Although personality change is typically considered a symptom of dementia, some studies suggest that personality change may be an early indication of dementia. One prospective study found increases in neuroticism preceding dementia diagnosis. This study extends this research by examining trajectories of personality traits in additional longitudinal studies of aging.

Muniz-Terrera, et al., 2017. Latent growth models matched to research questions to answer questions about dynamics of change in multiple processes.

Objectives. Given theoretical and methodological advances that propose hypothesis about change in one or multiple processes, analytical methods for longitudinal data have been developed that provide researchers with various options for analyzing change over time. In this paper, we revisited several latent growth curve models that may be considered to answer questions about repeated measures of continuous variables, which may be operationalized as time-varying covariates or outcomes.

Graham et al., 2017. Personality predicts mortality risk: An integrative data analysis of 15 international longitudinal studies

This study examined the Big Five personality traits as predictors of mortality risk, and smoking as a mediator of that association. Replication was built into the fabric of our design: we used a Coordinated Analysis with 15 international datasets, representing 44,094 participants. We found that high neuroticism and low conscientiousness, extraversion, and agreeableness were consistent predictors of mortality across studies. Smoking had a small mediating effect for neuroticism.

Yoneda et al., 2018. Trajectories of Personality Traits Preceding Dementia Diagnosis

Introduction: Although personality change is typically considered a symptom of dementia, some studies suggest that personality change may be an early indication of dementia. This project examines this possibility by examining trajectories of personality traits preceding dementia diagnosis in several longitudinal studies of aging.

Cadar et al., 2016. The role of cognitive reserve on terminal decline: a cross-cohort analysis from two European studies

OBJECTIVE: Cognitive performance shows a marked deterioration in close proximity to death, as postulated by the terminal decline hypothesis. The effect of education on the rate of terminal decline in the oldest people (i.e. persons 85+ years) has been controversial and not entirely understood. In the current study, we investigated the rate of decline prior to death with a special focus on the role of education and socioeconomic position, in two European longitudinal studies of ageing: the Origins of Variance in the Old-Old: Octogenarian Twins (OCTO-Twin) and the Newcastle 85+ study.

Bendayan et al., 2017. Hierarchy and Speed of Loss in Physical Functioning: A Comparison Across Older U.S. and English Men and Women.

Background: We aimed to identify the hierarchy of rates of decline in 16 physical functioning measures in U.S. and English samples, using a systematic and integrative coordinated data analysis approach.

Cadar et al., 2017. An International Evaluation of Cognitive Reserve and Memory Changes in Early Old Age in 10 European Countries.

Background: Cognitive reserve was postulated to explain individual differences in susceptibility to ageing, offering apparent protection to those with higher education. We investigated the association between education and change in memory in early old age. 

Clouston & Denier, 2017. Mental retirement and health selection: Analyses from the U.S. Health and Retirement Study

Background: Research has recently suggested that retirement may decrease cognitive engagement, resulting in cognitive aging. Few studies have systematically documented whether or how selectivity into retirement shapes the relationship between retirement and cognitive aging.

Denier et al., 2017. Retirement and Cognition: A Life Course View.

This study examines the relationship between retirement and cognitive aging. We build on previous research by exploring how different specifications of retirement that reflect diverse pathways out of the labor market, including reason for leaving the pre-retirement job and duration spent in retirement, impact three domains of cognitive functioning. We further assess how early-life factors, including adolescent cognition, and mid-life work experiences, condition these relationships.

Dodge et al., 2017. Cohort effects in verbal memory function and practice effects: a population-based study.

Background: In many developed countries, cognitive functioning (as measured by neuropsychological tests) appears to be improving over time in the population at large, in parallel with the declining age-specific incidence of dementia. Here, we investigated cohort effects in the age-associated trajectories of verbal memory function in older adults. We sought to determine whether they varied by decade of birth and, if so, whether the change would be explained by increasing educational attainment.

Praetorius Björk et al., 2016. I forgot when I lost my grip—strong associations between cognition and grip strength in level of performance and change across time in relation to impending death

An association between level of cognitive function and grip strength is well established, whereas evidence for longitudinal associations of change in the 2 functions is still unclear. We examined associations between cognition and grip strength in levels of performance and in longitudinal change in late life in a population-based sample, aged ≥80 years at baseline, followed until death.

Brown et al., 2016. Cognitive activity mediates the association between social activity and cognitive performance: A longitudinal study.

Social activity is one aspect of an active lifestyle and some evidence indicates it is related to preserved cognitive function in older adulthood. However, the potential mechanisms underlying this association remain unclear. We investigate 4 potential mediational pathways through which social activity may relate to cognitive performance.

Leszko et al., 2016. Future directions in the study of personality in adulthood and older age

Over the past 20 years, empirical evidence has brought about a change in the view on how, or even whether, personality traits change or develop in adulthood and later life. Now we know personality can and does change for many people, if not most. Changes in personality may occur due to biological or environmental factors. This paper presents key empirical findings on personality change in adulthood and provides evidence that personality change affects mental and physical health.

Ramsey et al., 2016. The effects of daily co-occurrence of affect on older adults' reactivity to health stressors

Objectives. The present study examined age differences among older adults in the daily co-occurrence of affect and its potential role in buffering the negative effects of health stressors.

Design. Participants were from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study (NAS) and included 249 young-old adults (age = 60–79 years, M=71.6) and 64 old-old adults (age = 80–89, M = 82.9) who completed questionnaires assessing stressors, physical health symptoms, and positive and negative affect on eight consecutive days.

Friedman et al., 2015. Inflammation Partially Mediates the Association of Multimorbidity and Functional Limitations in a National Sample of Middle-Aged and Older Adults: The MIDUS Study

Objective: Older adults are increasingly likely to have two or more chronic medical conditions (multimorbidity) and are consequently at greater risk of disability. Here we examine the role of inflammation in mediating the relationship between multimorbidity and disability. 

Graham et al., 2015. Personality & Earnings Lost: The Economic Costs of Work Cut Back Days Due to Physical and Mental Health

Personality traits have emerged as significant contributors to physical and mental health, as well as various economic outcomes including income. Few studies have explored whether personality is related to the frequency of days lost on the job due to physical or mental health issues, and the subsequent economic losses as a result. The current study bridged the health, economic, and personality variables to determine whether personality was associated with earnings lost due to work cut back days from poor physical or mental health.

Clouston et al., 2015. Educational inequalities in aging-related declines in fluid cognition and the onset of cognitive pathology

Background: Education has been robustly associated with cognitive reserve and dementia, but not with the rate of cognitive aging, resulting in some confusion about the mechanisms of cognitive aging.

Clouston et al., 2015. Educational Inequalities in Health Behaviors at Midlife: Is There a Role for Early-life Cognition?

Education is a fundamental cause of social inequalities in health because it influences the distribution of resources, including money, knowledge, power, prestige, and beneficial social connections, that can be used in situ to influence health. Recent studies have highlighted early-life cognition as commonly indicating the propensity for educational attainment and determining health and age of mortality. Health behaviors provide a plausible mechanism linking both education and cognition to later-life health and mortality.

Turiano et al., 2013. Personality and the leading behavioral contributors of mortality.

Objective: Personality traits predict both health behaviors and mortality risk across the life course. However, there are few investigations that have examined these effects in a single study. Thus, there are limitations in assessing if health behaviors explain why personality predicts health and longevity. Method: Utilizing 14-year mortality data from a national sample of over 6,000 adults from the Midlife in the United States Study, we tested whether alcohol use, smoking behavior, and waist circumference mediated the personality–mortality association.

Marioni et al., 2015. The epigenetic clock is correlated with physical and cognitive fitness in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936

Background: The DNA methylation-based ‘epigenetic clock’ correlates strongly with chronological age, but it is currently unclear what drives individual differences. We examine cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between the epigenetic clock and four mortality-linked markers of physical and mental fitness: lung function, walking speed, grip strength and cognitive ability.

Weuve et al., 2015. Guidelines for reporting methodological challenges and evaluating potential bias in dementia research

Clinical and population research on dementia and related neurologic conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, faces several unique methodological challenges.

Munoz et al., 2015. Global perceived stress predicts cognitive change among older adults.

Research on stress and cognitive aging has primarily focused on examining the effects of biological and psychosocial indicators of stress, with little attention provided to examining the association between perceived stress and cognitive aging. We examined the longitudinal association between global perceived stress (GPS) and cognitive change among 116 older adults (Mage = 80, SD = 6.40, range = 67–96) in a repeated measurement burst design.

Griffith et al., 2015.Statistical approaches to harmonize data on cognitive measures in systematic reviews are rarely reported

Objectives. To identify statistical methods for harmonization, the procedures aimed at achieving the comparability of previously collected data, which could be used in the context of summary data and individual participant data meta-analysis of cognitive measures.

Study Design and Setting. Environmental scan methods were used to conduct two reviews to identify (1) studies that quantitatively combined data on cognition and (2) general literature on statistical methods for data harmonization. Search results were rapidly screened to identify articles of relevance.

Hostinar et al., 2015. Additive contributions of childhood adversity and recent stressors to inflammation at midlife: Findings from the MIDUS study.

We examined the joint contributions of self-reported adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and recent life events (RLEs) to inflammation at midlife, by testing 3 competing theoretical models: stress generation, stress accumulation, and early life stress sensitization. We aimed to identify potential mediators between adversity and inflammation. Participants were 1,180 middle-aged and older adults from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) Biomarker Project (M age = 57.3 years, SD = 11.5; 56% female).

Lee et al., 2015. Do cherished children age successfully? Longitudinal findings from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study.

Although early adversity has been linked to worse mental and physical health in adulthood, few studies have investigated the pathways through which positive and negative dimensions of early experiences can jointly influence psychological well-being in later life. This study examined: (a) profiles of early experiences across multiple domains, (b) the relations of these profiles to hedonic and eudaimonic well-being in later life, and (c) whether midlife social support mediated these relations.

Hofer & Clouston, 2014. Commentary: On the Importance of Early Life Cognitive Abilities in Shaping Later Life Outcomes.

Early-life cognitive ability is likely to be dynamically related to life course factors including educational attainment, occupational outcomes, health behaviors, activities, health, and subsequent cognitive health. Disentangling the selective and causal processes contributing to cognitive functioning across the life span is challenging and requires long-term investments in longitudinal data.

Rast et al., 2014. The identification of regions of significance in the effect of multimorbidity on depressive symptoms using longitudinal data: an application of the Johnson-Neyman technique.

Background: The investigation of multimorbidity and aging is complex and highly intertwined with aging-related changes in physical and cognitive capabilities, and mental health and is known to affect psychological distress and quality of life. Under these circumstances it is important to understand how the effects of chronic conditions evolve over time relative to aging-related and end-of-life changes.

Mroczek, D. K., 2014. Personality plasticity, healthy aging, and interventions.

This commentary on the special section on conscientiousness and healthy aging focuses on several topics brought up in this collection of articles. One is the promise of personality interventions. Despite skepticism on the part of some, such interventions may ultimately prove successful. This is in part because of similarities between personality dimensions and cognitive dimensions and in part due to evidence showing personality is more dynamic and plastic than once believed. The commentary concludes with a discussion of the role of longitudinal investigations to inform interventions.

Rush & Hofer, 2014. Differences in within-and between-person factor structure of positive and negative affect: Analysis of two intensive measurement studies using multilevel structural equation modeling

The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) is a widely used measure of emotional experience. The factor structure of the PANAS has been examined predominantly with cross-sectional designs, which fails to disaggregate within-person variation from between-person differences. There is still uncertainty as to the factor structure of positive and negative affect and whether they constitute 2 distinct independent factors.

Johnson et al., 2014. Modification of genetic influences on adiposity between 36 and 63 years of age by physical activity and smoking in the 1946 British Birth Cohort Study

Background: Previous studies reporting on the interaction between physical activity and genetic susceptibility on obesity have been cross-sectional and have not considered the potential influences of other lifestyle behaviours. The aim of this study was to examine modification of genetic influences on changes across age in adiposity during mid-adulthood by physical activity and smoking.

Clouston et al., 2014. The role of partnership status on late-life physical function.

This study examined the socioeconomic pathways linking partnership status to physical functioning, assessed using objective measures of late life physical functioning, including peak flow and grip strength. Using Wave 4 of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), we ran multilevel models to examine the relationship between partnership status and physical function in late life, adjusting for social-network characteristics, socioeconomic factors, and health behaviours. We found a robust relationship between partnership status and physical function.

Piccinin et al., 2013. Coordinated analysis of age, sex, and education effects on change in MMSE scores

Objectives. We describe and compare the expected performance trajectories of older adults on the Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) across six independent studies from four countries in the context of a collaborative network of longitudinal studies of aging. A coordinated analysis approach is used to compare patterns of change conditional on sample composition differences related to age, sex, and education. Such coordination accelerates evaluation of particular hypotheses. In particular, we focus on the effect of educational attainment on cognitive decline.

Robitaille et al., 2013. Longitudinal mediation of processing speed on age-related change in memory and fluid intelligence.

Age-related decline in processing speed has long been considered a key driver of cognitive aging. While the majority of empirical evidence for the processing speed hypothesis has been obtained from analyses of between-person age differences, longitudinal studies provide a direct test of within-person change. Using recent developments in longitudinal mediation analysis, we examine the speed—mediation hypothesis at both the within-and between-person levels in two longitudinal studies, Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) and Origins of Variance in the Oldest-Old (OCTO-Twin).

Whiteman et al., 2013. The development and implications of peer emotional support for student service members/veterans and civilian college students.

Student service members/veterans represent a growing population on college campuses. Despite this growth, scholarly investigations into their health- and adjustment-related issues are almost nonexistent. The limited research that is available suggests that student service members/veterans may have trouble connecting with their civilian counterparts and be at risk for social isolation.

Clouston et al., 2014. The Dynamic Relationship Between Physical Function and Cognition in Longitudinal Aging Cohorts

On average, older people remember less and walk more slowly than do younger persons. Some researchers argue that this is due in part to a common biologic process underlying age-related declines in both physical and cognitive functioning. Only recently have longitudinal data become available for analyzing this claim. We conducted a systematic review of English-language research published between 2000 and 2011 to evaluate the relations between rates of change in physical and cognitive functioning in older cohorts.

Mroczek et al., 2013. Emotional reactivity and mortality: Longitudinal findings from the VA Normative Aging Study

Objectives. Evidence suggests a predictive association between emotion and mortality risk. However, no study has examined dynamic aspects of emotion in relation to mortality. This study used an index of emotional reactivity, defined as changes in positive or negative affect in response to daily stressors, to predict 10-year survival.

Griffith et al., 2013. Harmonization of Cognitive Measures in Individual Participant Data and Aggregate Data Meta-Analysis

Objectives: The aim of this study was to identify approaches to statistical harmonization which could be used in the context of summary data and/or individual participant data meta-analysis of cognitive measures and to apply and evaluate these different approaches to cognitive measures from three studies.

Erten-Lyons et al., 2012. Review of current databases of longitudinal aging studies

One of the recommendations of the 2010 Leon Thal Symposium, organized to develop strategies to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, was to build a global database of longitudinal aging studies. Although several databases of longitudinal aging studies exist, none of these are comprehensive or complete. In this article, we review selected databases of longitudinal aging studies. We also make recommendations on future steps to create a comprehensive database. Additionally, we discuss issues related to data harmonization.

    Hill et al., 2012. Examining Concurrent and Longitudinal Relations Between Personality Traits and Social Well-being in Adulthood

    Past work has demonstrated that Big Five personality traits both predict relationship success and respond to changes in relationship status. The current study extends this work by examining how developments on the Big Five traits correspond to another important social outcome in adulthood, social well-being. Using the Mid-Life Development in the U.S. longitudinal data sample of adults, the authors examined traits and social well-being at two time points, roughly 9 years apart. Results find support for two primary claims.

    Robitaille, 2014. Physical Activity And Cognitive Functioning in the Oldest Old

    The current study examines the role of social contact intensity, cognitive activity, and depressive symptoms as within- and between-person mediators for the relationships between physical activity and cognitive functioning. All three types of mediators were considered simultaneously using multilevel structural equations modeling with longitudinal data. The sample consisted of 470 adults ranging from 79.37 to 97.92 years of age (M = 83.4; SD = 3.2) at the first occasion.

    Rast & Hofer, 2014. Longitudinal design considerations to optimize power to detect variances and covariances among rates of change: Simulation results based on actual longitudinal studies

    We investigated the power to detect variances and covariances in rates of change in the context of existing longitudinal studies using linear bivariate growth curve models. Power was estimated by means of Monte Carlo simulations. Our findings show that typical longitudinal study designs have substantial power to detect both variances and covariances among rates of change in a variety of cognitive, physical functioning, and mental health outcomes.

    Muniz-Terrera et al., 2012. Investigating terminal decline: results from a UK population-based study of aging.

    The terminal decline hypothesis states that in the proximity of death, an individual’s decline in cognitive abilities accelerates. We aimed at estimating the onset of faster rate of decline in global cognition using Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores from participants of the Cambridge City over 75 Cohort Study (CC75C), a U.K. population-based longitudinal study of aging where almost all participants have died.

    Turiano et al., 2012. Big 5 personality traits and interleukin-6: Evidence for “healthy Neuroticism” in a US population sample

    The current study investigated if the Big 5 personality traits predicted interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels in a national sample over the course of 5 years. In addition, interactions among the Big 5 were tested to provide a more accurate understanding of how personality traits may influence an inflammatory biomarker. Data included 1054 participants in the Midlife Development in the U.S. (MIDUS) biomarkers subproject. The Big 5 personality traits were assessed in 2005–2006 as part of the main MIDUS survey.

    Thorvaldsson et al., 2012. Nonlinear blood pressure effects on cognition in old age: Separating between-person and within-person associations

    Midlife hypertension is associated with increased risk of cognitive impairment in later life. The association between blood pressure (BP) in older ages and cognition is less clear. In this study we provide estimates of between-person and within-person associations of BP and cognition in a population-based sample (N = 382) followed from age 70 across 12 occasions over 30 years. Between-person associations refer to how individual differences in BP relates to individual differences in cognition.

    Clouston et al., 2012. Benefits of educational attainment on adult fluid cognition

    Background: Educational attainment is highly correlated with social inequalities in adult cognitive health; however, the nature of this correlation is in dispute. Recently, researchers have argued that educational inequalities are an artefact of selection by individual differences in prior cognitive ability, which both drives educational attainment and tracks across the rest of the life course.

    Lindwall et al., 2012. Dynamic Associations of Change in Physical Activity and Change in Cognitive Function: Coordinated Analyses of Four Longitudinal Studies

    The present study used a coordinated analyses approach to examine the association of physical activity and cognitive change in four longitudinal studies. A series of multilevel growth models with physical activity included both as a fixed (between-person) and time-varying (within-person) predictor of four domains of cognitive function (reasoning, memory, fluency, and semantic knowledge) was used. Baseline physical activity predicted fluency, reasoning and memory in two studies.

    Brown et al., 2012. Social Activity and Cognitive Functioning Over Time: A Coordinated Analysis of Four Longitudinal Studies

    Social activity is typically viewed as part of an engaged lifestyle that may help mitigate the deleterious effects of advanced age on cognitive function. As such, social activity has been examined in relation to cognitive abilities later in life. However, longitudinal evidence for this hypothesis thus far remains inconclusive. The current study sought to clarify the relationship between social activity and cognitive function over time using a coordinated data analysis approach across four longitudinal studies.

    Robitaille et al., 2012. Multivariate longitudinal modeling of cognitive aging: Examining associations among change and variation in processing speed and visuospatial ability.

    We illustrate the use of the parallel latent growth curve model using data from OCTO-Twin. We found a significant intercept-intercept and slope-slope association between processing speed and visuospatial ability. Within-person correlations among the occasion-specific residuals were significant, suggesting that the occasion-specific fluctuations around individual’s trajectories, after controlling for intraindividual change, are related between both outcomes.

    Mitchell et al., 2012. Cognitively Stimulating Activities: Effects on Cognition across Four Studies with up to 21 Years of Longitudinal Data

    Engagement in cognitively stimulating activities has been considered to maintain or strengthen cognitive skills, thereby minimizing age-related cognitive decline. While the idea that there may be a modifiable behavior that could lower risk for cognitive decline is appealing and potentially empowering for older adults, research findings have not consistently supported the beneficial effects of engaging in cognitively stimulating tasks.

    Walls et al., 2011. Timescale Dependent Longitudinal Designs

    In this chapter, we consider alternative temporal sampling designs within the interrupted time series family and explore other potential designs based on decisions about sufficient or optimal time scales capturing particular processes. We refer to this framework as time-scale-dependent longitudinal design (TDLD). A key objective is to provide a basis for researchers to develop studies of process that effectively utilize multiple time scales and intensive measurements.

    Shanahan & Hofer, 2011. Molecular Genetics, Aging, and Well-being: Sensitive Period, Accumulation, and Pathway Models

    Aging reflects ongoing transactions between context and person across many decades of life. Life course sociology is now central to investigations focused on the dynamic social context of aging, with its distinctive emphasis on long-term patterns in people's statuses, roles, and relationships. Recent advances in the understanding of the genome and its measurement have created new and exciting possibilities for studying the genetic basis of aging-related outcomes.

    Hofer et al., 2011. Foundational Issues of Design and Measurement in Developmental Research

    In this chapter we discuss a variety of issues concerning designed, measurements, and analysis of data from quasi-experimental studies with thte main aim of identifying and explaining individual differences in developmental processes.

    Hofer et al., 2011. Methodological Issues in Research on Adult Development and Aging

    This chapter contains sections titled: Conceptual Issues at the Interface of Theory, Design, and Analysis, Analytic Approaches for Understanding Within‐Person Change and Variation Methodological Applications in Developmental and Aging Research, Integrative Data Analysis: Within‐Person Change in the Context of Cohort, Country, and Culture, Acknowledgments, References.

    Bontempo et al., 2011, Measurement Issues in the Analysis of Within-Person Change

    The study of change rests on the assumption that observed differences in measurements over time reflect true change in the construct being measured. If measurement properties change over time, there is a threat to internal validity, which results in ambiguity in the conclusions about change.

    Piccinin et al., 2011. An evaluation of analytical approaches for understanding change in cognition in the context of aging and health

    Objectives. In this article, we discuss the importance of studying the relationship between health and cognitive function, and some of the methods with which this relationship has been studied.

    Alwin & Hofer, 2011. Health and Cognition in Aging Research

    This supplemental issue of The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences is based on papers presented at a conference on “Cognition, Health, and Aging: Integrating Perspectives across Disciplines” held at Pennsylvania State University, October 30– 31, 2009.

    Muniz-Terrera et al., 2011. Joint Modeling of Longitudinal Change and Survival

    Joint longitudinal-survival models are useful when repeated measures and event time data are available and possibly associated. The application of this joint model in aging research is relatively rare, albeit particularly useful, when there is the potential for nonrandom dropout. In this article we illustrate the method and discuss some issues that may arise when fitting joint models of this type.

    Gallacher & Hofer, 2011. Generating Large-Scale Longitudinal Data Resources for Aging Research
    Objectives. The need for large studies and the types of large-scale data resources (LSDRs) are discussed along with their general scientific utility, role in aging research, and affordability. The diversification of approaches to large-scale data resourcing is described in order to facilitate their use in aging research.
    PIccinin et al., 2011. Terminal Decline From Within- and Between-Person Perspectives, Accounting for Incident Dementia

    Objective: The terminal cognitive decline hypothesis has been debated for almost 50 years. This hypothesis implies a change in rate of decline within an individual. Therefore, we examine the hypothesis from a within-person perspective using a time to death chronological structure.

    Hoffman et al., 2011. On the confounds among retest gains and age-cohort differences in the estimation of within-person change in longitudinal studies: a simulation study

    Although longitudinal designs are the only way in which age changes can be directly observed, a recurrent criticism involves to what extent retest effects may downwardly bias estimates of true age-related cognitive change. Considerable attention has been given to the problem of retest effects within mixed effects models that include separate parameters for longitudinal change over time (usually specified as a function of age) and for the impact of retest (specified as a function of number of exposures).

    Zahodne et al., 2011. Education Does Not Slow Cognitive Decline with Aging: 12-Year Evidence from the Victoria Longitudinal Study

    Although the relationship between education and cognitive status is well-known, evidence regarding whether education moderates the trajectory of cognitive change in late life is conflicting. Early studies suggested that higher levels of education attenuate cognitive decline. More recent studies using improved longitudinal methods have not found that education moderates decline. Fewer studies have explored whether education exerts different effects on longitudinal changes within different cognitive domains.

    Sliwinski et al,. 2010. Modeling retest and aging effects in a measurement burst design.

    Researchers who study human development are interested in how psychological, physiological, and behavioral phenomena change over time in aging individuals. In fact, Baltes and Nesselroade (1979) identified the primary objective of longitudinal developmental research as the “direct identification of intraindividual change” (p. 23). However, this goal is complicated by the possibility that observable change in any given individual may reflect the joint influences of multiple processes.

    Van den Kommer et al., 2010. Classification models for early identification of persons at risk for dementia in primary care: An evaluation in a sample aged 80 years and older

    Aim: To evaluate previously developed classification models to make implementation in primary care possible and aid early identification of persons at risk for dementia. Methods: Data were drawn from the OCTO-Twin study. At baseline, 521 persons ≧80 years of age were nondemented, and for 387 a blood sample was available.

    Hofer & Piccinin, 2010. Toward an integrative science of lifespan development and aging.

    The study of aging demands an integrative life-span developmental framework, involving interdisciplinary collaborations and multiple methodological approaches for understanding how and why individuals change, in both normative and idiosyncratic ways. We highlight and summarize some of the issues encountered when conducting integrative research for understanding aging-related change, including, the integration of results across different levels of analysis; the integration of theory, design, and analysis; and the synthesis of results across studies of aging.

    Sliwinski et al., 2010. Evaluating convergence of within-person change and between-person age differences in age-heterogeneous longitudinal studies.

    The distinction of between-person age differences from within-person age changes is necessary for understanding aging-related change processes. Although longitudinal studies are required to address issues relating to within-person change, most studies begin using age-heterogeneous samples and conclude using survival-heterogeneous samples. Given the numerous potential confounds associated with age-heterogeneous samples, careful treatment of between-person age differences is essential to obtain the correct inferences regarding within-person age change.

    Der et al., 2010. Age-related changes in memory and fluid reasoning in a sample of healthy old people.

    Participants in the Healthy Old People in Edinburgh (HOPE) study (N = 398) were assessed on Raven's Progressive Matrices and Logical Memory on up to three occasions. Covariates included education, social class, disease and medication status, blood pressure and study outcome. Raven's score declined linearly with age, whereas decline in Logical Memory was accelerating. There was significant variation in individuals' rates of decline for Ravens but not Logical Memory. Slope–intercept covariances were not significant.

    Hofer & Piccinin, 2009. Integrative data analysis through coordination of measurement and analysis protocol across independent longitudinal studies.

    Replication of research findings across independent longitudinal studies is essential for a cumulative and innovative developmental science. Meta-analysis of longitudinal studies is often limited by the amount of published information on particular research questions, the complexity of longitudinal designs and the sophistication of analyses, and practical limits on full reporting of results. In many cases, cross-study differences in sample composition and measurements impede or lessen the utility of pooled data analysis.

    Sliwinski et al., 2009. Intraindividual change and variability in daily stress processes: Findings from two measurement-burst diary studies.

    There is little longitudinal information on aging-related changes in emotional responses to negative events. In the present article, we examined intraindividual change and variability in the within-person coupling of daily stress and negative affect using data from 2 measurement-burst daily diary studies. Three main findings emerged. First, average reactivity to daily stress increased longitudinally, and this increase was evident across most of the adult lifespan.

    Gray et al., 2011. The longitudinal relationship between behaviour and emotional disturbance in young people with intellectual disability and parental mental health.

    Although elevated rates of parent psychosocial distress have been associated with child behavior and emotional problems, little is known about the nature of this relationship over time. This study followed an epidemiological cohort of children and adolescents over 11 years with 4 waves of data collection. Within this cohort, complete data were available on 238 mothers and their children. Behavior and emotional problems were assessed using the DBC, maternal mental health with the GHQ. Multivariate growth curve modelling was used to evaluate the commonality of individual change patterns.

    Vaidya et al., 2008. Differential stability and individual growth trajectories of big five and affective traits during young adulthood

    Big Five and affective traits were measured at three assessments when participants were on average 18, 21, and 24 years old. Rank‐order stability analyses revealed that stability correlations tended to be higher across the second compared to the first retest interval; however, affective traits consistently were less stable than the Big Five. Median stability coefficients for the Big Five increased from .62 (Time 1 vs.

    Piccinin & Hofer, 2008. Integrative analysis of longitudinal studies on aging: Collaborative research networks, meta-analysis, and optimizing future studies.

    As the authors describe in this chapter, numerous calls have been made for increased collaboration as a means to focus developmental research on within-person processes. The authors highlight and summarize some examples of collaborative and coordinated research, and the authors elaborate on some fundamental ideas for implementing strategies for maximizing our understanding of within person aging-related changes.

    Hofer & Alwin, 2008. The future of cognitive aging research: Interdisciplinary perspectives and integrative science.

    We initiated this project with a set of concerns about the future of cognitive aging research and a determination to raise a number of critical questions about the direction the field of cognitive aging is going.

    Further Presentations

    Displaying 1 - 38 of 38

    IALSA Team

    Dr. Scott Hofer

    Dr. Scott Hofer

    Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Victoria

    Scott M. Hofer is Director of the Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health, Professor of Psychology, and holds the Harald Mohr, M.D. and Wilhelma Mohr, M.D. Research Chair in Adult Development and Aging at the University of Victoria. He is Past President of Division 5 (Quantitative and Qualitative Methods) of the American Psychological Association, Past President of the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology, and a Fellow of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, American Psychological Association, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and Gerontological Society of America. In 2016, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Gothenburg. Dr. Hofer’s research has focused on the replicability and generalizability of results from longitudinal studies in the psychological and health sciences, with particular emphasis on integrative data analysis and innovations in study design and measurement. He is Program Director of the NIH-funded Integrative Analysis of Longitudinal Studies on Aging and Dementia (IALSA) research network, comprised of over 130 longitudinal studies, for international comparative research and synthesis of results. He has used intensive measurement designs to evaluate the within-person day-to-day dynamics among cognitive and physical health to better enable the assessment and identification of critical changes in functioning and to increase the potential for effective intervention.


    Graciela Muniz-Terrera

    Professor, Social Medicine; Heritage Endowed Professorship, Osteopathic Heritage Foundation Ralph S. Licklider, D.O. Research Endowment

    Dr. Muniz Terrera was a Senior Lecturer in Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Centre for Dementia Prevention where she worked in collaboration with colleagues in the EPAD (European Prevention of Alzheimer's Dementia) and the PREVENT studies. She works with an extensive network of international IALSA collaborators, and with colleagues based in low- and middle-income countries. Before working in Edinburgh, she was a Lecturer at UCL and Programme Leader Track at the MRC Lifelong Health and Ageing Unit and worked for several years in Cambridge at the MRC Biostatistics Unit, where she completed her PhD. Her research has been supported by the Medical Research Council, the Alzheimer's Society, National Institutes of Health (US) and various other funding organizations. She has extensive experience developing and applying longitudinal methods to gain a better understanding of ageing, brain health and dementia. She is particularly interested in the study of modifiable risk factors for cognitive and physical decline and brain health and has developed harmonization methods for evidence synthesis and reproducible research.


    Dr. Daniel Mroczek

    Professor, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University

    Dr. Dan Mroczek’s research focuses on lifespan personality development, including change, stability, and trajectory models of key traits, as well as the influence of personality – and personality change - on physical health, mortality, and other important life outcomes (e.g. income/net worth, well-being dimensions). He also has several methodological interests, in particular multilevel modeling, survival analysis, longitudinal design, secondary and archival data analysis, and integrated data analysis (IDA). His research is supported by the National Institute on Aging.

    Individual studies
    Completed analysis workshops

    News & Events

    Stay informed of all things IALSA

    IALSA Cross-National Health Comparison (Stacey Voll)

    IALSA Cross-National Health Comparison (Stacey Voll) February 6-8, Victoria, BC

    Read More
    IALSA Roadmap Meeting

    IALSA Roadmap Meeting February 4-5, Victoria, BC

    Read More
    IALSA Modeling Dementia Progression II

    IALSA Modeling Dementia Progression II: (Miriam Haaksma) October 28- November 2, Amsterdam (Location TBD)

    Read More
    IALSA Modeling Dementia Progression

    IALSA Modeling Dementia Progression I (organized by Miriam Haaksma) Oct 28-Nov 2, Amsterdam (TBD)

    Read More

    Contact Us

    Get in Touch with Us