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Int J Methods Psychiatr Res. 2006;15(4):192-206.

The Life Trajectory Interview for Youth (LTI-Y): method development and psychometric properties of an instrument to assess life-course models and achievement.

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  • 1Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program, University of California - San Francisco & Berkeley, USA.


This paper describes the rationale, development and psychometric properties of the Life Trajectory Interview for Youth (LTI-Y), an instrument designed to assess cognitive models of the life course and life-course achievement. This method was developed over 13 months of pilot research, and applied with a population of 350 participants from the Great Smoky Mountain Study, a longitudinal epidemiological study of mental health in western North Carolina comprising 1420 youths (among them 350 Cherokee Native Americans). The LTI-Y is designed to address gaps in our understanding of the links between large-scale structural conditions and social processes and individual outcomes such as mental health. Scale consistency (n = 350) was good to high, whereas test-retest reliability in a limited sample (n = 18) was moderate to good, depending on the domain and dimension of data considered. Overall, psychometric properties indicate fairly stable and consistent life-course strategies and priorities. Although developed and piloted with youth from Western North Carolina, the methods described could be applied to any population of interest.

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