chapter  14
Sequential Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Strategies
Pages 7

Researchers agree on the overall significance of Schaie's proposal for the descriptive identification of change, but they disagree on the explanatory usefulness of his model (for example, Baltes, 1967a, b, 1968; Buss, 1973; Labouvie, 1975b; Wohlwill, 1973). One of the present authors (Baltes, 1968) was particularly critical of Schaie's proposals on this point. He argued that the application of Schaie' s model is primarily useful for the descriptive identification of change, and that any attempt to interpret the findings of a particular study in terms of specific maturational, environmental, or genetic determinants is highly speCUlative without additional knowledge or information. In the meantime, Schaie and Baltes (1975) jointly considered this question and concluded that distinguishing between the descriptive and explanatory functions of Schaie's General Developmental Model has indeed been helpful in clarifying some of the vagueness and answering some of the criticism surrounding the development of sequential strategies.