About the Project
The aim of this project is to understand, develop and implement appropriate statistical methodologies for the analysis of longitudinal data with specific application in the broad medical field of ageing studies. There have been several cross-sectional studies looking at the benefits to the elderly of changes in lifestyle, but this project looks at the long term implications of life course events and decisions on the mental and physical well-being of the aged.
The UK has a prominent role in the development of longitudinal studies, with its wealth of publically accessible cohort studies which follow a group of people over time to gather repeated measures of life experiences and health status. One such dataset is the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) which has been providing information on 50+ year olds since 2002; another is the National Child Development Study (NCDS), whose participants were 50 in 2008. Although it is envisaged that these will be the two most important sources of information, other datasets will be investigated as common themes and factors emerge.
Longitudinal research is a broad term and hence the methods of analysis can vary substantially. This study will investigate several approaches to examine the effects of life course events and decisions on the health of the elderly. It is envisaged that this project will involve a number of techniques for the investigation and development of models for longitudinal data, including multiple and logistic regression techniques, multi-level modelling, event history analysis, survival analysis, repeated measures analysis and Structured Equation Modelling. Generally, standard statistical packages (e.g. SAS, SPSS, R) would be used, although some more specific software may be required for the more specialized methodology.
Overall the outcome of the project is to develop a statistical modelling framework to provide an understanding of the contributory factors and progressive nature of the effects of life course events and decisions over the long term, and to use such models to predict the mental and physical well-being of the elderly.
Technical Report of the 1958 National Child Development Study: Age 55 survey (2013/2014), available from Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education ( http://www.cls.ioe.ac.uk/default.aspx ).
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