Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Comparing reports of early life circumstances when asked retrospectively and prospectively

25 May 2017

There is a high degree of similarity in the direction, but not magnitude of association between childhood exposures that have been prospectively collected in National Child Development Study and retrospectively collected in English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and wellbeing outcomes in mid-life.

stairs The findings on the one hand provide some reassurance to the growing literature using life history data to determine life course associations with later life wellbeing. On the other hand, the findings show an overestimation in the retrospective data, in part, arising from the absence in life history data of childhood measures that are not well suited to retrospective collection.

Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences: https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/article/doi/10.1093/geronb/gbx042/3746052/Testing-Comparability-Between-Retrospective-Life