The Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children began in 1975 and is currently in its 36th year. We are focusing on social relationship experiences: how people think about their experiences, risk and protective factors, and issues of continuity and change. The overarching goal of the project has been to trace the course of individual development and to understand factors that guide it toward good outcomes or poor outcomes. Therefore, we have studied how people develop at different points in their lives and across diverse setting (e.g., school, home, social relationships).

Many of the study’s findings are summarized in The Development of the Person:

Bookcover for The Development of the Person


Beginning in 1975, we recruited a sample of 267 first-time mothers in their third trimester of pregnancy through the Minneapolis Public Health Department and Hennepin County Medical Center. Wide-ranging assessments (List of Assessments) of the mother’s characteristics, circumstances, parent expectations, and prenatal care were carried out when mothers were recruited into the study. We continued to assess mothers and children after the birth of the child. In infancy, assessments of parents, children’s temperament, and observations of parent-child interactions were carried out at birth (days 1-3), 3, 6 (twice), and 12 (twice) months. Thereafter assessments were conducted every 6 months until age 2 1/2, yearly through the 3rd grade, three times between 9 and 13, and at ages 16, 17 ½, 19 , 23, 26, and 28. In early adulthood we assessed adaptation when the participants were in their late 20s.