The Canberra Longitudinal Study: Design, aims, methodology, outcomes and recent empirical investigations

Helen Christensen, Andrew Mackinnon, Anthony F. Jorm, Ailsa Korten, Patricia Jacomb, Scott M. Hofer, Scott Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The first section of this paper describes methodology and major cognitive outcomes of the Canberra Longitudinal Study (CLS). This community study of 1045 Australians aged 70 years or over commenced in 1990. Participants were reassessed on three subsequent occasions. Its major themes were investigations of prevalence of dementia and depression, risk factors, inter-individual variability and instrument development. Over 60 papers arising from the study have been published. The second section of this paper describes the use of a Factor of Curves (FOC) latent growth model to examine the existence of a common factor responsible for age-related deterioration in cognitive and non-cognitive processes. This analysis is a logical progression in a series of investigations using the Canberra Longitudinal Study into risk factors and correlates of cognitive change using structural equation modeling techniques. The FOC model is described and is used to explore the nature of an hypothesized common factor and to determine its relationship with age, gender, education, pre-morbid intelligence and to the ApoE genotype. Latent growth models were developed for each of reaction time, Symbol Letter Modalities Test (SLMT), Grip strength, self-reported Sensory disability and memory from three waves of data. Second-order latent level slope factors were established based on the individual factor growth curve models. Although a common factor model could be fitted to the data, there is little support that it represents a single common cause.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-195
Number of pages27
JournalAging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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