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Spelling out some unaddressed conceptual and methodological challenges in empirical lifespan research


Moersdorf, Lea; Freund, Alexandra M; Daum, Moritz M (2022). Spelling out some unaddressed conceptual and methodological challenges in empirical lifespan research. Acta Psychologica, 226:103585.

Abstract

The importance of taking a lifespan approach to describe and understand human development has long been acknowledged (e.g., Baltes, 1987). Nevertheless, theoretical or empirical research that actually encompasses the entire lifespan, that is, from early childhood to old age, is rare. This is not surprising given the challenges such an approach entails. Many of these challenges (e.g., establishing measurement invariance between age groups) have been addressed in the previous literature, but others have not yet been sufficiently considered. The main purpose of this article is to present several examples of such largely unaddressed conceptual and methodological challenges and reflect upon possible ways to address them. We discuss the usefulness of a lifespan approach and the generalization of the challenges to other research comparing different groups, such as gender, culture, or species.

Abstract

The importance of taking a lifespan approach to describe and understand human development has long been acknowledged (e.g., Baltes, 1987). Nevertheless, theoretical or empirical research that actually encompasses the entire lifespan, that is, from early childhood to old age, is rare. This is not surprising given the challenges such an approach entails. Many of these challenges (e.g., establishing measurement invariance between age groups) have been addressed in the previous literature, but others have not yet been sufficiently considered. The main purpose of this article is to present several examples of such largely unaddressed conceptual and methodological challenges and reflect upon possible ways to address them. We discuss the usefulness of a lifespan approach and the generalization of the challenges to other research comparing different groups, such as gender, culture, or species.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
06 Faculty of Arts > Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Developmental and Educational Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
Language:English
Date:June 2022
Deposited On:09 Aug 2022 13:51
Last Modified:28 May 2024 01:38
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0001-6918
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2022.103585
PubMed ID:35427928
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)