Analyzing Change in Adulthood with Multilevel Growth Models

Selected Measurement, Design, and Analysis Issues

Authored by: Janet K. Holt

Handbook of Research on Adult Learning and Development

Print publication date:  November  2008
Online publication date:  November  2008

Print ISBN: 9780805858198
eBook ISBN: 9780203887882
Adobe ISBN: 9781135597405


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Current perspectives acknowledge that adult development is a lifelong process. Life-span development involves both gains and losses in skills and abilities. Life-span development is multidimensional, multidirectional, and multicausal, and is embedded in historical, cultural, and social contexts. As such, the study of developmental processes across the life span involves multidisciplinary approaches. Knowledge of these characteristics is, therefore, critical for informing the selection of methodology to study development processes in adulthood. The life-span perspective implies that developmental studies measuring change over time are preferred to non-developmental studies because the former are better able to uncover patterns of change (i.e., growth or decline) over time. The characteristics of life-span processes also imply that the methodology used to assess developmental changes should facilitate the modeling of a complex system of development. Methodology should be sensitive to maturational patterns, the effects of life events, and allow for the incorporation of an array of contextual variables to best describe the rich influences of historical, cultural, and social contexts on individuals.

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