One particular strength of the Department of Psychology is its comprehensive, long-term expertise in the methodology of longitudinal studies. This expertise goes back more than 25 years and was originally motivated by longitudinal studies conducted in the department, particularly the Jyväskylä Longitudinal Study of Personality and Social Development (JYLS, directed by Professor Lea Pulkkinen). Later, many other longitudinal studies have been conducted in the department, and due to intensive methodological training the vast majority of the researchers have excellent skills in a range of methods, including structural equation modelling, latent growth curve modelling, hierarchical modelling and mixture modelling. By combining several of these methods, researchers receive excellent tools to solve even some of the most complex scientific problems. In recent years, the studies using diary methods and other types of process-oriented methods have created growing expertise in new statistical tools, such as prospective change multilevel modelling.


Aunola, K., Tolvanen, A., Kiuru, N., Kaila, S., Mullola, S., & Nurmi, J.-E. (2015). A Person-Oriented Approach to Diary Data: Children’s Temperamental Negative Emotionality Increases Susceptibility to Emotion Transmission in Father-Child Dyads. Journal for Person-Oriented Research, 1 (1-2), 72-86. doi:10.17505/jpor.2015.08

Nurmi, J.-E. (2011). Foundational Issues in Investigating Development as Interindividual Variation, in B. Laursen, T. Little, & N. Card (Eds.). Handbook of Developmental Research Methods (pp. 231–246). New York, N.J: Guildford Press.

Helske, J., Eerola, M., & Tabus, I. (2010): Minimum Description Length based Hidden Markov Model Clustering of Life Sequences. Proceedings of the 2010 Workshop on Information Theoretic Methods in Science and Engineering. August 16–18, 2010,Tampere, Finland

Rönkä, A., Malinen, K., Kinnunen, U., Tolvanen A., & and Lämsä, T. (2010) Capturing Daily Family Dynamics via Text Messages: Development of a Mobile Diary. Community, Work & Family, 13(1), 5–21.

Tolvanen, A. (2007). Latent growth mixture modeling: A simulation study. University of Jyväskylä, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Report, 111. http://tutka.jyu.fi/tutka/julkaisut/28277

Tolvanen, A., Kiuru, N., Leskinen, E., Hakkarainen, K., Inkinen, M., Lonka, K., & Salmela-Aro, K. (2011). A new approach for estimating a nonlinear growth component in multilevel modeling. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 35 (4), 370–379. doi:10.1177/0165025411406564

Salmela-Aro, K., Kiuru, N., Nurmi, J.-E., & Eerola, M. (2014). Antecedents and consequences of transitional pathways to adulthood among university students: 18-year longitudinal study.Journal of Adult Development, 21 (1), 48–58. doi:10.1007/s10804-013-9178-2 Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10804-013-9178-2

Pulkkinen, L., & Kokko, K. (2012). Foundational issues in longitudinal data collection. In B. Laursen, T. D. Little, & N. A. Card (Eds.), Handbook of developmental research methods (pp. 129–147). New York, NY, US: The Guilford Press.