Longitudinal Research on Work and Family Issues
Longitudinal research designs rely on repeated occasions of measurement on the same individuals or groups over time. Such designs take different forms depending on the nature of the research questions being addressed and the sampie being studied, but a hallmark of longitudinal research is a dual focus on continuity and change. Longitudinal researchers who are interested in the interconnections between work and family life typically focus on which aspects of work, family, or the individual stay the same, which aspects change, how they change, and whether those changes can be predicted with other data the investigator has available. Although longitudinal investigations in the area of work and family are still somewhat rare, they have the potential to reveal important insights about the work-family interface that cannot be ascertained from cross-sectional snapshots of individuals, families, or workplaces at a single point in time. Longitudinal research designs are an important part of the toolkit for work-family researchers for several reasons.