Correlated longitudinal changes across linguistic, achievement, and psychomotor domains in early childhood: evidence for a global dimension of development

Authors

  • Mijke Rhemtulla,

    1.  Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, USA
    2.  Center for Research Methods and Data Analysis, University of Kansas, USA
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  • Elliot M. Tucker-Drob

    1.  Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, USA
    2.  Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, USA
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Mijke Rhemtulla, Center for Research Methods and Data Analysis, University of Kansas, 1425 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045, USA; e-mail: mijke@ku.edu

Abstract

An important question within developmental psychology concerns the extent to which the maturational gains that children make across multiple diverse domains of functioning can be attributed to global (domain-general) developmental processes. The present study investigated this question by examining the extent to which individual differences in change across children’s development in five different domains are correlated. Multivariate growth-curve models were fit to longitudinal data on linguistic, mathematics, reading, gross motor, and fine motor skills in 8950 children ranging in age from 44 to 86 months (3.7 years to 7.2 years). All five rates of change were positively intercorrelated. A common factor accounted for 42% of the individual differences in change. These results suggest that a global dimension underlies substantial proportions of cognitive and psychomotor development.

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