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The harmonisation of longitudinal data: a case study using data from cohort studies in The Netherlands and the United Kingdom

Bath, P.A., Deeg, D. and Poppelaars, J. (2010) The harmonisation of longitudinal data: a case study using data from cohort studies in The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Ageing and Society , 30 (8). pp. 1419-1437. ISSN 0144-686X


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This paper presents a case study of the challenges and requirements associated with harmonising data from two independently-conceived datasets from The Netherlands and the United Kingdom: the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) and the Nottingham Longitudinal Study of Activity and Ageing (NLSAA). The objectives were to create equivalent samples and variables, and to identify the methodological differences that affect the comparability of the samples. Data are available from the two studies' 1992–93 surveys for respondents born during 1908–20, and the common data set had 1,768 records and enabled the creation of 26 harmonised variables in the following domains: demographic composition and personal finances, physical health, mental health and loneliness, contacts with health services, physical activity, religious attendance and pet ownership. The ways in which the methodological differences between the two studies and their different selective attrition might lead to sample differences were carefully considered. It was concluded that the challenges of conducting cross-national comparative research using independent datasets include differences in sampling, study design, measurement instruments, response rates and selective attrition. To reach conclusions from any comparative study about substantive socio-cultural differences, these challenges must first be identified and addressed.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: data harmonisation; older people; cross-national comparison; sample attrition
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Information School (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Miss Anthea Tucker
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2010 10:29
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2010 10:30
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X1000070X
Status: Published
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Identification Number: 10.1017/S0144686X1000070X
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/42591

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