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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: February 25, 2002
Reviewed: July 19, 2002
Latest Update: June 15, 2004

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Link to Topics Index Latent Growth Curves

A Gentle Introduction to Latent Growth Curves by Alan Acock. File backed up on February 25, 2002. Figures begin on p. 31 of the document.

Latent growth curves give us a picture of the pattern with which many of the variables we want to study change over time. For example, how have Americans' attitudes about September 11 changed since the actual event? How could we measure such a change? How could we measure attitudes? Consider scales. One province in Canada has recently recognized same-sex marriage. How might that compare with California attitudes to same-sex marriage? How might we measure such attitudes? Consider the California initiative on same-sex marriage. How might we collect such data in a national US survey? Would we be able to use SPSS to analyze our data?

Latent Growth Curves: A Gentle Introduction, Graph at p.33 of 47

Rough drawing of nonlinear growth curve for delinquency growth.

Much of what we want to study in sociology involves change. Alan Acock's explanation of Latent Growth Curves is clear and straight-forward. We are not going to study the statistics for calculating these curves at this time, but I would like you to read through the top of page 8, so that you can see the internal logic and ease of understanding that is possible with such methodology if you wish to continue your studies beyond our M.A. degree.