This page in Swedish

The IDA program

The IDA program (Individual Development and Adaptation) is a large ongoing longitudinal research program which has followed people from their childhood when they went to school in the Swedish town Örebro in the middle of 1960s. The IDA program, previously named The Örebro Project, has thus far contributed with a large amount of knowledge about people's development and the program has produced nearly 500 publications, about 150 of which are internationally peer-reviewed articles.

About the IDA-program

The IDA program (Individual Development and Adaptation) is a large ongoing longitudinal research program which has followed people from their childhood when they went to school in the Swedish town Örebro in the middle of 1960s. The IDA program, previously named The Örebro Project, has thus far contributed with a huge amount of knowledge about people's development and the program has produced nearly 500 publications, about 150 of which are internationally peer-reviewed articles.

The IDA program started as a school research project and in the first data collection in 1965, three complete grades of inhabitants in Örebro were included, with almost 1300 children in every cohort (3rd grade, 6th grade and 8th grade). The two younger grades (3rd grade: the main group, born in 1955 and 6th grade: the pilot group, born in 1952) have since been followed in repeated data collections up to the age of adult. Enormous information has been collected, concerning intelligence, school performance, family background, self-experienced school adaptation, teacher's assessment of different behaviors, social relations, norms, self-declared symptoms and criminalities. In the adult age, the choice of study and occupation has also been studied, as well as working conditions, education, family life etc.. Comprehensive data collections have been done for the main group at the age of 43 (women) and 47 (men). The women also underwent a medical survey.

The dropping off has been low all through the time and there is a good "spirit of project" in participants, which gives a good reason for further successful data collections. Together with the so-called BETULA program, the IDA program is the largest longitudinal research program in psychology in the Nordic countries.

The IDA program has been internationally referred to as one of the most important longitudinal studies that has ever been carried out. In Contemporary Psychology, in one review of a book about the IDA program, Professor Richard Lerner, an internationally leading development psychologist, commented on the IDA program in the following way: To the extent that this research is the exemplar of the importance of what may be a new theoretical paradigm - not only for developmental psychology but also for the study of human development in general (cf. Bandura, 1986) - then Magnussons' IDA-project may be the single most important longitudinal study of this century.

Background and purpose

The main goal of the IDA program is to understand people's adaptation processes in a lifelong perspective and the program would like to to contribute to the knowledge about the mechanism that directs individuals' development to, for example, various career paths and the patterns of adaptation in adult age.

Since the very beginning, a holistic-interactionist perspective has been established in the IDA program where the individual, as a functional entirety, is emphasized. It had several consequences. Partly, in the data collection of the IDA program, we tried, as long as it is possible, to capture various aspects of importance in an individual's development and capacity as well as non-psychological aspects. Partly a comprehensive theoretical development work has been carried out within the program concerning the interactionist research paradigm, and it has been further developed into the person-oriented attempt, both theoretically and statistically by the invention of the statistical package (SLEIPNER). The IDA program also emphasizes on empirical research. Therefore, the program also includes developments of theories and methods.

Data collections

Description of Data Collections

Principal Investigators

The IDA program started in 1964-1965 and was managed by Professor David Magnusson until 1996 when Professor Lars R. Bergman took over the resposibility. Bergman was in charge of the program until 2011. At present Professor Henrik Andershed and Anna-Karin Andershed, Ph.D, at Örebro University are in charge of the IDA program.

Contact responsible researchers.

Financial support

The IDA program has been financed all the time by external funds from, for example, skolöverstyrelsen, SFR, FRN, RJ och VR with the amount that varies between approximately 1,000,000 SEK to 3,000,000 SEK per year when measured by the money value nowadays. Stockholm Univerisity, where the IDA program is managed until 2011, has also contributed with infrastrucutural support. During the whole time of the program, we have been particular about documenting the program scrupulously and seen to that the research is all the time carried out on the collected data. This probably has contributed to the fact that the program has been granted external funds during all these years.