Statistical analysis

Longitudinal research poses a number of specific requirements with regard to data analysis. Thus, the problem of multiple comparisons is likely to arise when examining the data for significant associations; time series, survival, or path analysis may be required when observations are made and recorded at successive time points in the evolution of the disorder; and methods of unconfounding are called for at each step of the analysis of longitudinal data. While no single study to date has met all the rigorous methodological requirements, a number of studies have succeeded in controlling at least some of the sources of bias and confounding. The results from previous research are, therefore, not strictly comparable in specific detail, but are informative as regards the general trends and patterns.

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