Editorial

By Laughlin, Charles | Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal, Winter 1993 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Editorial


Laughlin, Charles, Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal


The most difficult research to carry out effectively in pre- and perinatal psychology is longitudinal research; that is, research designed to uncover causal relations between pre- and perinatal events and the subsequent psychosocial development of the person. It is often very difficult to pin down the causes of adult psychological problems, even when the anecdotal, clinical or intuitive view makes it nearly certain that the roots of the problems are to be found in early life. Most often researchers resort to correlational methods-that is, ways of documenting that changes in the distribution of one variable are related in a patterned way to changes in the distribution of another variable-as such research may be carried out in a short time and is resource-efficient. But we must always remember one simple fact about correlational results: a correlation is not a cause. To treat a correlation as a cause is a logical fallacy. A causal explanation requires that the mechanisms or processes that link the cause and the effect be elucidated. Correlational data do not do this.

However, correlational data can often point the way toward causal links between events, and provide very important information when causal data are unavailable. Moreover, correlational methods may be used to test causal hypotheses. Let me give you an example. Swedish researchers Karin Nyberg, Peter Allebeck, Gunnar Eklund and Bertil Jacobson (1992, 1993) have tested which factor better explains the incidence of amphetamine and opiate addiction: socioeconomic level of the addict, or the administration of drugs to the addicts' mothers during birthing. They show a small correlation between amphetamine addiction and socioeconomic level, but none for opiate addiction.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Editorial
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?