The focus of the youth study was on the question of psychological and social development processes in adolescence and the prerequisites for productive way of coping with life. The inquiry in 2002 essentially depended on this interrogation, but extended it to adulthood.
One of the most important objectives of the continuation study was to examine theoretically established, but in relation to their prognostic validity still insufficiently tested, assumptions about long term effects of certain protection and risk factors during adolescence. Further, relating to all areas of life, questions about the continuity and discontinuity of development processes during the transition from adolescence to adulthood, influenced by different personal and social resources, were also focused on.
An additional focus of the follow-up studies is the prediction of how individuals and their families cope with life in adulthood. At the time the data about different stages in adulthood are available, the knowledge about what happened allows to retrospectively ask about how the situation in adult life could come about. For example, how can it be explained that young adults live in satisfying relationships whereas others get divorced, or why some are depressed whereas others live highly satisfying lives? What personal prerequisites and social contexts in youth and young adulthood lead, for example, to high professional motivation and successful professional integration?
The LifE study thus attempts to describe and explain the developmental paths from late childhood to the middle adulthood, looking ahead (What happens to the young people) and looking into the past (What is the prehistory of the adults?).