Longitudinal designs, methods and analysis in psychiatric research

Kaarin J. Anstey, Scott M. Hofer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective: To outline the strengths and limitations of longitudinal research designs in psychiatry, and to describe different types of longitudinal designs and methods for analyzing longitudinal data. Method: Key references on longitudinal methods were reviewed and examples drawn from literature in psychiatry and psychology. Results: Longitudinal studies provide important information regarding the incidence and developmental trajectories of mental disorders. They allow for identification of risk factors and developmental concomitants. Recent developments in statistical methods for analyzing longitudinal data provide efficient estimates of change and predictors of change over time, identification and characteristics of distinct subgroups defined by change pattern, and improved methods for obtaining unbiased population estimates when data are incomplete. Conclusion: Longitudinal designs, methods and analysis can contribute to psychiatric studies on risk factors for common mental disorders, studies of early intervention and prevention and treatment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-104
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Cohort studies
  • Developmental trajectories
  • Longitudinal methods
  • Missing data analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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