Advances in Mental Health, Vol 9, No 2 (2010)

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The evolution of the study of life trajectories in social sciences over the past five years : a state of the art review

Marie Robert


More recently, since roughly the end of the 1990s, two main types of statistical analysis created for longitudinal data in social sciences were disseminated throughout and widely used by the research community, namely: HLM (Hierarchical Linear Models) and semiparametric group-based analysis (group-based modeling). These methodological advances are not unrelated to the great increase in the number of longitudinal studies of individual trajectories. However, technical tools alone are not enough to shed light on the inherent complexity of life course analysis. Considering the development of sophisticated techniques and the proliferation of knowledge relating to individuals’ trajectories, it is surprising that the concept of trajectory has, in itself, never been systematically examined. This article will review the body of knowledge that pertains to individuals’ trajectories in the area of mental health. This involved systematic documentary research of scientific works published in the last five years on the topic of individuals’ trajectories. Our research outlines the state of knowledge on the topic and presents a critical reflection on the multiple constructions and uses of the concept of life trajectories in scientific research.

Advances in Mental Health

ISSN 1837-4905
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