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About LifE

LifE Life Courses from Late Childhood to Middle Adulthood:

A study on the importance of educational processes, educational experiences and development processes to successfully cope with life.

There is still comparatively little solid knowledge concerning the structure and determinants of different developmental paths from childhood to adulthood. Especially the question on predictive impacts of personal and social resources during early life stages on adulthood, as well as the question concerning types of development trajectories is of great scientific and societal interest. This is where LifE steps in.

In continuation of the longitudinal study “Entwicklung im Jugendalter” (‘Development in Adolescence; 1979-1983), the LifE study aims to explain life courses and different developmental paths of more than 1.300 persons. After a first follow-up survey in early adulthood in 2002 and a post-enquiry in 2004, the study focused on mid-adulthood in 2012 – at this point the former adolescents were on average 45 years old.

The data and results available from the longitudinal survey of the youth and the follow-up surveys in 2002 and 2012 include not only indicators about the school environment at the time, the parental home and peers, but also information on personality traits, partner and family histories, educational and vocational training paths as well as career starts. Accordingly, the study allows the integration of educational, education and family sociological as well as developmental psychological questions.

The longitudinal analysis of data within a period of more than 30 years grants the possibility of systematically tracking life's ways, which has not been possible in such depth yet.

The study is a joint project of the Universities of Potsdam, Zurich, Constance and Innsbruck; sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).