The Core is designed to provide methodological and statistical support to all projects in the POl. Workshops, which lie at the heart of the Core, will provide investigators with state-of-the-art tools and methods to fulfill the specific aims of the research projects and achieve the highest scientific standards. By encouraging communication across projects and across disciplines, the Core will facilitate inter-disciplinary, integrative analyses that address the goals of this POl in innovative and rigorous ways. The Core will fully exploit economies of scale by organizing workshops that focus on areas which are not part of the common corpus of knowledge among project investigators but are of major significance to areas of analysis shared by some or all ofthe projects. Specifically, three types of workshops will be organized. First, workshops on statistical modeling will cover innovative analytic strategies that will be useful across all projects and germane to the substantive goals ofthe projects. These include recursive partitioning, growth curve analyses and age-period-cohort analyses that exploit the longitudinal nature of MIDUS. Second, workshops will address analytic challenges that are shared by projects such as new approaches to the treatment of missing data and attrition in longitudinal studies as well as dependencies in multiple comparisons. Third, workshops will address substantive and conceptual challenges such as strategies for studying use of prescription medication and biomarker responses when they are jointly determined as well as measurement of economic stress associated with the economic recession. For these substantive workshops, the Core will compile data files that will be of value to multiple projects drawing on measures collected in MIDUS and also additional external data collected by the Core. The workshops will be backed up by software training and consulting for specific projects as needed. Building on our strong record of success, workshops organized by the Core will be incorporated into regularly scheduled Program Project meetings which are attended by all investigators to further promote collaborations among investigators across projects and across disciplines. This design contributes to lowering the cost of conducting innovative, cross-project analyses by inter-disciplinary teams of scientists. A travel grant program will encourage involvement by junior investigators not currently involved in the MIDUS project. Materials from the workshops will be placed on the MIDUS website for the larger research community.
The societal significance of the proposed research is that MIDUS will advance knowledge of how psychological, social and economic experiences in early and middle adulthood infiuence later life health (morbidity and mortality), and illuminate the biological pathways through which such effects occur. Because such psychosocial factors can serve as protective resources and, in addition, are modifiable, they serve as important targets for prevention and positive health promotion in the U.S. population.
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