The core idea of IDA is to study the individual adaptation process in a life-span perspective, applying a holistic-interactionistic theoretical framework developed by David Magnusson (see ref. 13 and 15). This framework implies a focus on processes and the need to collect a wide range of information, covering not only key psychological but also sociological and biological variables. IDA's databases are briefly described below.  Starting in the 1980', a person-oriented approach emanating from the interactionistic theoretical framework has been developed in IDA, both theoretically and methodologically. In this approach, the individual is as far as possible regarded as a whole and patterns of information become the natural conceptual and analytical units (see refs. 5, 9, and 10 below).

THE FIRST DATA COLLECTION was made in 1965 for three complete school-grade cohorts of children from the town of Örebro, aged about 10, 13, and 15, respectively. The youngest one, called the main group, and the cohort aged 13 in 1965, called the pilot group, have been followed to adult age. Each cohort comprises about 1100 boys and girls. Extensive information was collected from different sources:

  • From the children themselves information was collected about, for instance, intelligence, school performance, adjustment to school, anxiety, psychosomatic symptoms, mobbing.
  • From the teachers information was collected about, for instance, aggression, motor restlessness, lack of concentration, and certain symptoms.
  • From the parents information was collected about, for instance, education and vocation, conditions of living, family situation in general, and problems with the child.
  • From peers information was collected about, for instance, social relations.
  • Register information was collected about, for instance, school marks and number of hours absent from school.

IN THE SECOND DATA COLLECTION, three years later, when the main group participants were in grade 6 and the pilot group participants in grade 9, approximately the same data collection was repeated but with three important additions: (1) For a representative sample of 240 children from the main group a medical examination was undertaken including the measurement of the excretion of stress hormones, EEG, and physical capacity. This group is called the biomedical sample. (2) Extensive information was collected concerning various aspects of vocational preferences. (3) Information about self-reported criminality was collected for the pilot group.

IN GRADES 7-9 additional data collections were carried out for the main group. The same type of data that had already been collected was collected again and in addition to that two age-relevant questionnaires were given, namely one about norm breaking and norm groups and another one about self-reported symptoms of teen-age girls.

ADDITIONAL DATA COLLECTIONS WERE CARRIED OUT DURING THE HIGH SCHOOL YEARS (grades 10-12) mostly related to experiences of the school situation and issues of relevance to vocational and educational behavior. Ability test data were also collected for those attending the theoretical stream in grade 12.

AT EARLY ADULT AGE several mail questionnaire surveys were carried out directed to different groups, focusing on education, vocation, family, and job situation. At age 26, the main group was studied in this way and the biomedical sub sample was also interviewed, medically examined, and tested in the laboratory.

REGISTER DATA were collected covering the age period up to about age 30. This concerns official records about criminality, alcohol abuse and mental health problems.

AT AGE 43 a new large data collection was carried out for the women in the main group (n=569). It contained the following parts:

  • A personal interview focusing on work and family. The basis for the interview was the one used in the longitudinal sociological Swedish Level of Living Survey (LNU). Questionnaires were also administered (5 hand-outs and 7 leave-after’s) measuring, for instance, social relations and attitudes to work and unemployment, femininity-masculinity, distribution within the family of responsibilities and actual work carried out with regard to the home and family.
  • A psychological-medical investigation. It was directed to all IDA-women living in the county of Örebro or living elsewhere but belonging to the biological sub sample of IDA (n=479). A physician carried out a thorough physical health examination and the subjects also filled out a number of health questionnaires. Blood, urine, and saliva samples were stored and 21 standard medical parameters were measured (for instance, blood pressure, B-Hb, B-LPK, S-Calcium, S-Albumin, S-Cholesterol, B-Glukos, B-HbAlc). Psychological tests were given of, for instance, personality (the Karolinska Personality Scales), memory function, and a psychiatric interview was carried out on every second woman, based on the SCID protocol. Questionnaires were administered measuring, for instance, alcohol consumption (AUDIT), SWB, smoking, shoulder, neck, and back pain, and subjective symptoms.
  • A study of stress hormones. The excretion of stress hormones was measured at the job and in the women’s homes. This study was restricted to those living in the Örebro area (n=347).
  • A study of bone density. The investigation of bone density was carried out at the county hospital of Örebro (RSÖ). This study was also restricted to those living in the Örebro area.

The response rates of 89% for the personal interview and 77% for the medical examination have exceeded our expectations. In fact, in all data collections since the beginning of the program in 1965 the drop out has been very low, usually below 5 percent at school age. Data from official records and some basic data from the school years are available almost without any drop out.

AT AGE 48, a new large data collection was carried out for the males in the main group who belonged to the original sample in 1965 (n=393, 82% response rate). Essentially, information was collected for the same variables described above for the females at age 43, except that most medical variables were omitted.

TWO TARGETED MAIL QUESTIONNAIRES were given to the females in the main group:

  • At age 47 about their health related life-style (an area of interest in itself but data were also collected to compare health-related behavior between those who at age 43 were subjected only to the personal interview and those who took part in the medical examination and then were given health advice).
  • At age 49, subjective well-being, job satisfaction, and various health variables (focusing on subjective symptoms, GHQ and the Ryff scales) were studied to enable a longitudinal follow-up between age 43 and age 49 in these areas.

Extensive descriptions of IDA and its data bases, covering the period up to early adult age, are given in refs. 13 and 14, and a brief description of IDA that also includes the data collections in midlife is given in ref. 6.

Current IDA research at our department

Current IDA research at our department focuses on the importance of IQ at school age for career and adjustment outcomes in midlife. IQ is then regarded as one of a set of interacting competence factors, including, for instance, perseverance and aspirations.

The research described here was originally financed by the STINSEN foundation through the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences for 2011-2013. The aim was to study the long-term development of children with high IQ based on longitudinal IDA data, covering the period from middle childhood to midlife. Three broad scientific questions were:

  1. What are the career outcomes of high IQ children compared to those of children with normal IQ and to what extent do the high IQ children achieve a career that is "optimal", considering their intellectual resources?
  2. How much are the high IQ children's careers affected by factors that should be irrelevant, like gender and the parents´ socioeconomic status?
  3. How well do the high IQ children adjust to school and to adult life as compared to other children?

Examples of more specific scientific question were the search for explanatory mechanisms of career failure of high IQ children, the study of the nonlinear effect of high IQ, and the importance of high IQ for the link between health-related behaviors and health.

The STINSEN project research team included Håkan Andersson, Ola Anderson, Lars Bergman, Jelena Corovic, and Laura Ferrer Wreder from our department, Karin Modig from Karolinska Institute, and Linda Wänström from Linköping University, Department of Statistics. The basic project findings have been reported as a special issue of Research in Human Development (refs. 2, 6, 7, and 19).

The scope of the IQ research has now been broadened and also includes the study of the long term development of children with low IQ, addressing questions like who succeed against the odds and protective factors against career failure. A first study of low IQ children has been published in Intelligence (ref. 8).

Some IDA publications

IDA-related research has resulted in more than 500 publications, and below only a small selection is given.

  1. Andersson, H., & Bergman, L.R. (2011). The role of task persistence in young adolescence for successful educational and occupational attainment in middle adulthood. Developmental Psychology, 47(4), 950-960.
  2. Andersson, H., Lovén, J., & Bergman, L.R. (2014). The importance of high competence in adolescence for career outcomes in midlife. Research in Human Development, 11(3), 204-216.
  3. Benzies, K.M., Wångby, M., & Bergman, L.R. (2008). Stability and change in health-related behaviors of midlife Swedish women. Health Care for Women International, 29, 997-1018.
  4. Bergman, L.R., & Andershed, A.-K. (2008). Predictors and outcomes of persistent and age-limited registered criminal behavior: A 30-year longitudinal study of a Swedish urban population. Aggressive Behavior, 34, 1-14.
  5. Bergman, L.R., & Andersson, H. (2010). The person and the variable in developmental psychology. Journal of Psychology, 218(3), 155-165.
  6. Bergman, L.R., Corovic, J., Ferrer-Wreder, L., & Modig, K. (2014). High IQ in early adolescence and career success in adulthood: Findings from a Swedish longitudinal study. Research in Human Development, 11(3), 165-185.
  7. Bergman, L.R., & Ferrer-Wreder, L. (Eds.). (2014). Special issue: The long-term development of Swedish adolescents with high IQ. Research in Human Development, 11(3), 161-246.
  8. Bergman, L.R., Ferrer-Wreder, L., & Zukauskiene, R. (2015). Career outcomes of adolescents with below average IQ: Who succeed against the odds? Intelligence, 52, 9-17.
  9. Bergman, L.R., & Lundh, L.-G. (Eds.). (2015). The person-oriented approach: Roots and Roads to the Future. Journal for Person-Oriented Research, 1, Special issue 1-2, 1-109.
  10. Bergman, L.R., & Magnusson, D. (1997). A person-oriented approach in research on developmental psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology, 9, 291-319.
  11. Grip, A., & Bergman, L.R. (2016). A nonlinear dynamic model applied to data with two times of measurement. Journal for Person-Oriented Research, 2, Special issue 1-2, 56-63.
  12. Kiuru, N., Salmela-Aro, K., Nurmi, J.-E., Zettergren, P., & Bergman, L.R. (2012). Best friends in adolescence show similar educational careers in early adulthood. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 33(2), 102-111.
  13. Magnusson, D. (1988). Individual Development from an interactional perspective. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  14. Magnusson, D., Dunér, A., & Zetterblom, G. (1975). Adjustment: A longitudinal study. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.
  15. Magnusson, D., & Törestad, B. (1993). A holistic view of personality: A model revisited. Annual Review of Psychology, 44, 427-452.
  16. Modig, K., & Bergman, L.R. (2012). Associations between intelligence in adolescence and indicators of health and health behaviors in midlife in a cohort of Swedish women. Intelligence, 40(2), 82-90.
  17. Stattin, H., Kerr, M., & Bergman, L.R. (2010). On the utility of Moffit's typology trajectories in long-term perspective. European Journal of Criminology, 7(6), 521-545.
  18. Wulff, C., Bergman, L.R., & Sverke, M. (2009). General mental ability and satisfaction with school and work: A longitudinal study from ages 13 to 48. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 30, 398-408.
  19. Zettergren, P., & Bergman, L.R. (2014). Adolescents with high IQ and their adjustment in adolescence and midlife. Research in Human Development, 11(3), 186-203.