Sexuality Research & Social Policy

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 46–55 | Cite as

Longitudinal methods in sex research

  • Jennifer Petersen
  • Janet Shibley Hyde
Special Issue Article


Longitudinal research is essential for the understanding of human sexual development. This article highlights the importance of longitudinal data in sex research by considering methodological and statistical procedures for conducting longitudinal research. Among other methodological issues, the authors review volunteer bias and attrition in longitudinal data collection. They also evaluate new statistical methods useful for analyzing longitudinal data, including hierarchical linear modeling, structural equation modeling, and growth mixture modeling. To illustrate these considerations, the authors provide an example from data on peer sexual harassment victimization and discuss the opportunities for working with large-scale longitudinal data sets that are available to the public. The authors conclude that longitudinal research is the best method for discovering developmental patterns in sexuality by addressing intra-individual change.

Key words

longitudinal data methodology quantitative analysis sexual development peer sexual harassment victimization 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadison

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