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Cohort Change - Challenges In Studying Cohort Change

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In trying to disentangle the various clocks that govern aging, careful conceptualization, rich data, and advanced analytic techniques are all essential. Because of the tendency to use chronological time as the measure for all the various clocks, ambiguous results are often produced: Cohort and period differences become confounded in trend data because different cohorts are compared in different historical periods; age and cohort differences are confounded in cross-sectional data because people who share cohort membership are also the same age; and age and period effects are confounded in intra-cohort trend data because people age into new historical periods.

The key to understanding the linkage between cohort change and social change will be an explanation of how a shared common understanding—a shared social consciousness—is created by cohort members, and how this understanding resembles or contradicts that of earlier cohorts or same-aged people of a different mind.

MELISSA HARDY ANDREA E. WILLSON

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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FIREBAUGH, G., and HAYNIE, D. L. "Using Repeated Surveys to Study Aging and Social Change." In Studying Aging and Social Change: Conceptual and Methodological Issues. Edited by M. A. Hardy. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 1997. Pages 148–163.

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