PS 220 Unit 3 Assignment: Longitudinal Research

Longitudinal Research


Longitudinal Research

My research questions consists of : How do children develop over time when bad things happen to their families like death, divorce or separation occur? I picked longitudinal research because I believe that it will gain major insight into the study of children presented with bad things. I also believe that the research into children who are dealing with unfortunate events in their lives will have something to give back to the research study itself.

The basic gist of this research is finding out how family disruptions affect children over time and depending on gender and age what types of effects it has on their personality and learning over time. “The setup of our empirical analysis is divided into three steps. First, a set of descriptive analyses provides insight into the changes that children go through in terms of the mean-level development of personality traits when they are confronted with family disruption. We compare these developments with children who grow up in intact families. Second, we focus on heterogeneity in personality development across children by investigating to what extent the experience of family disruption explains intra-individual differences from early to late childhood. In particular, we analyse different types of family disruption, the age at which the child experiences the disruption, and differences in personality development between boys and girls. Finally, while life experiences are generally found to be correlated with personality changes, the endogenous nature of the occurrence of these experiences is generally ignored. We address this issue by running placebo tests and by dealing with sample selection in the BCS.” (Prevoo, T., & Weel, B. (2015)

The three main personality traits they measure in this study is self-esteem, internal locus of control and behavioural problems. Analysis from this research study show that children mature in terms of personality mostly during childhood. Family disruption severely affects the personality mostly during childhood. “Between the ages of 10 and 16, children generally demonstrate positive personality development, as shown by increasing scores on self-esteem and internal locus of control, as well as decreasing scores on the Rutter index for behavioural problems.”(Prevoo, T., & Weel, B. (2015)

I believe that the research question that the researchers are asking is How do family disruptions affect the child as he or she ages? The research they used was from a 1970 British Cohort Study. They began with a birth questionnaire, covering all children born between the 5th and 11th of April of 1970. The progressed by using the data from the first 4 waves- 1970,1975,1980,1986. They gathered this research and starting sorting it out amongst personality, what type of family disruption, family characteristics. The research design for this paper I believe is Longitudinal.

In conclusion the research here I believe is very important and interesting. To study a child over the years as they aged over how they felt or how they were doing in general about the family disruptions. Checking back in every 5 years or so to see how the child has aged and what personality differences that occured in those years is absolutely fascinating. All in all, this research study goes to show that even the smallest of changes can occur by troubled disruptions in a child’s life.


Prevoo, T., & Weel, B. (2015). The Effect of Family Disruption on Children’s Personality Development: Evidence from British Longitudinal Data. De Economist (0013-063X), 163(1), 61-93. doi:10.1007/s10645-014-9248-2

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