Twelve Frequently Asked Questions About Growth Curve Modeling

J Cogn Dev. 2010;11(2):121-136. doi: 10.1080/15248371003699969.


Longitudinal data analysis has long played a significant role in empirical research within the developmental sciences. The past decade has given rise to a host of new and exciting analytic methods for studying between-person differences in within-person change. These methods are broadly organized under the term growth curve models. The historical lines of development leading to current growth models span multiple disciplines within both the social and statistical sciences, and this in turn makes it challenging for developmental researchers to gain a broader understanding of the current state of this literature. To help address this challenge, the authors pose 12 questions that frequently arise in growth curve modeling, particularly in applications within developmental psychology. They provide concise and nontechnical responses to each question and make specific recommendations for further readings.