The broad field of interest concerns the complex systems that determine adjustment reactions and how they evolve during development. In these studies the Swedish data base Individual Development and Adaptation (IDA) has often been used. The studies have concerned, for instance, mechanisms involved in the emergence of adjustment problems and criminality and factors relating to health outcomes. Often a person-oriented approach has been applied where pattern development has been studied, for instance the development of typical patterns of externalizing problems or subjective well-being. See references listed at the bottom of this page for selected examples of studies conducted in this area.


Ongoing empirical research is focused on a project financed by the STINSEN foundation through the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences. The aim is to study the long-term development of children with high IQ, mainly using longitudinal data from IDA, starting in middle childhood and ending in midlife. Three broad scientific questions are:

  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 are 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 has recently started and the project team includes Håkan Andersson, Ola Anderson, Lars Bergman, Jelena Corovic, and Laura Ferrer Wreder from our department, Karin Modig from Karolinska Institute, and Linda Wänström from the Stockholm University Department of Statistics.

The IDA Longitudinal Research Program


The IDA-program was initiated by David Magnusson in the beginning of the sixties and he led it until 1996 when Lars Bergman became the director. In 2011 Henrik and Anna-Karin Andershed took over the leadership of IDA and the main site of the program moved to Örebro. However, research based on IDA data is still active at our department with Lars Bergman as the principal investigator.

The core idea of IDA is to study the individual adaptation process in a life-span perspective, applying a holistic-interactionistic theoretical framework. This 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 data base is briefly described 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 one aged 13 in 1965, called the pilot group, have been followed to adult age. Each cohort comprises about 1300 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, 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 concerning 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-afters) 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 thorough physical health examination was carried out by a physician and a number of health questionnaires were also filled out by the subjects. Blood, urine, and saliva samples were stored and 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 with regard to their health related life-style (an area of interest in itself but data were also collected to compare health-related behavior between those subjected only to the personal interview and those who took part in the medical examination and 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.

Selected, Relevant Publications

  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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Bergman, L. R., Andershed, H. & Andershed, A-K (2009). Types and continua in developmental psychopathology: Problem behaviors in school and their relationship to later antisocial behavior. Development and Psychopathology, 21(3), 975-992.
  5. Kiuru, N., Salmela-Aro, K., Nurmi, J-E., Zettergren, P, & Bergman, L. R. Best friends in adolescence show similar educational careers in early adulthood (2012). Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 33(2), 102-111.
  6. 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.
  7. Modig-Wennerstad, K., Silventoinen, K., Batty, D., Tynelius, P., Bergman, L. R., & Rasmussen, F. (2008). Association between offspring intelligence and parental mortality: A population-based cohort study of one million Swedish men. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 62(8), 722-727.
  8. Modig-Wennerstad, K.M., Silventoinen, K., Tynelius, P., Bergman, L., Kaprio, J., & Rasmussen, F. (2010). Associations between IQ and cigarette smoking among Swedish male twins. Social Science & Medicine, 70(4), 575-581.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.