CLOSER Longitudinal Methodology Series ShareThis


The CLOSER Longitudinal Methodology Series will take place every two months on the last Thursday of the month. The inaugural event will be on Thursday 29 January 2015 and feature talks from Dr George Ploubidis, Reader in Population Health and Statistics and Chief Statistician at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, and Professor Fiona Steele, Professor in Statistics at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

By showcasing the work of a select group of expert researchers we aim to promote and encourage future analysis of the cohort studies and in particular the value of cross-cohort research.


Dr George Ploubidis

Reader in Population Health and Statistics

Chief Statistician at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies


Life course partnership status and biomarkers in mid-life: Evidence from the 1958 British birth cohort

Background – Numerous studies have found that married people live longer and have better health than the unmarried. However, the vast majority of these studies relied on self-reported health outcomes and considered only current marital status or transitions over relatively short periods, ignoring the accumulated benefits and risks of marital status trajectories over the life course.

Methods – We employed data from a population based birth cohort to summarise longitudinal patterns of partnership status spanning 21 years that distinguished marital status and non-marital cohabitation, an important distinction since non – marital cohabitation is becoming more common. Results – After controlling for selection due to early life and early adulthood characteristics, we found that life course trajectories of partnership status were associated with haemostatic and inflammatory markers, the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and respiratory function in mid-life. Never marrying or cohabiting was negatively associated with health in mid-life for both genders but the effect was more pronounced in men. Women who had married during their late 20’s or early 30’s and remained married had the best health in mid-life. Men and women in cohabiting unions had similar mid-life health outcomes to those in formal marriages.

Conclusion – A longitudinal typology of partnership status spanning 21 years was associated with a wide range of inflammatory and haemostatic markers as well as other objectively measured health outcomes in mid-life after controlling for well-known selection mechanisms. Further research is needed to identify the pathways that link life course trajectories of partnership status and mid-life health.


Professor Fiona Steele

Professor in Statistics at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)


Estimating push and pull effects of area characteristics on residential location choice using household panel data

We develop a random effects discrete choice model for the analysis of households’ choice of neighbourhood over time. The model is parameterised in a way that exploits longitudinal data to separate the influence of neighbourhood characteristics on the decision to move out of the current area (“push” effects) and on the choice of one destination over another (“pull” effects). Random effects are included to allow for unobserved heterogeneity between households in their propensity to move, and in the importance placed on area characteristics.

The model is applied in an analysis of residential choice in England using data from the British Household Panel Survey linked to neighbourhood-level census data. We consider how effects of area deprivation and distance from the current area depend on household characteristics and life course transitions in the previous year. We find substantial differences between households in the effects of deprivation on out-mobility and selection of destination, with evidence of severely constrained choices among less-advantaged households.