Lars R Bergman

Professor emeritus

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Arbetar vid Psykologiska institutionen
Besöksadress Frescati hagväg 14
Postadress Psykologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm


Main research areas

The person-oriented approach to the study of individual development

The person-oriented approach has its roots in the holistic-interactionistic theoretical framework developed by David Magnusson. As far as possible, individuals are seen as coherent wholes and attention is paid to interactions between psychological, biological and social factors. Development is regarded as a process that is characterized more by transformation than by accumulation. This theoretical framework is emphasized within the new developmental science and it has led to a person-oriented approach where the information about an individual is viewed mainly as a 'Gestalt' (often operationalized by value profiles or patterns in a number of measured variables). The focus is on understanding individual development. From this framework, mainstream developmental research has been critically reviewed and it is argued that statistical methods currently in use often do not match the scientific problem.

Examples of my work in this area are found in refs. 9, 12, 14, 17, 28, 31, 34, and 35.

Methodological issues in developmental research

One area of methodological research concerns the development of new methods for studying profiles and structures from a process-oriented perspective; methods that often are labeled 'person-oriented'. These methods include cluster analysis-based methods and nonlinear dynamic systems models. Another research area is design, especially concerning the study of causality and making inferences at the individual level. With regard to causality, it is argued that a delineation should be made between individual and average causality, and with regard to making inferences at the individual level, it is argued that in many cases such inferences are unwarranted but still often erroneously made, based on group statistics like the correlation coefficient. A research area is also the study of relationships and measurement in longitudinal research and survey research.

Examples of my methodological work are found in refs. 4, 8, 10, 18, 22, 31, 33, 38, 52, and 55.

Empirical research about the adaptation process across the life-span

Empirical studies have been done in different areas, mostly in the field of developmental psychology, and frequently data have been used from the longitudinal research program Individual Development and Adaptation (IDA), of which I was the director 1996-2011. The studied areas include the long-term consequences of patterns of adjustment problems for adult adjustment, precursors and correlates of subjective well-being in midlife, and the study of how adult adjustment depends on high or low IQ at school age, and on the combination of IQ with other competence factors, like aspirations and perseverance.

Examples of my empirical work are found in refs. 1, 27, 29, 37, 39, 41, 42, 44, 46, 58, and 60.

Statistical packages for person-oriented analysis

Together with Bassam El-Khouri I have developed SLEIPNER – a computer package for person-oriented analysis that is widely used internationally. SLEIPNER is freeware and it is extensively treated in ref. 31. This book is a standard treatment of the person-oriented approach, in which both theoretical, methodological, and computational issues are presented. Andras Vargha, Karoli Gaspar University, Budapest, has developed a user-friendly general statistical package that also can perform many types of person-oriented analyses (ROPstat) to which I am a contributor (ref. 53).

Editor of the Journal for Person-Oriented Research

In 2015, Lars-Gunnar Lundh and I started a new journal, Journal for Person-Oriented Research (JPOR). The journal is dedicated to publishing person-oriented research, and we are the editors.

Selected publications 2000-2016

  1. Andersson, H., & Bergman, L.R. (2011). The role of task persistence in young adolescence for successful educational and occupational attainment in middle adulthood. Developmental Psychology, 47(4), 950-960.
  2. Andersson, H., Lovén, J., & Bergman, L.R. (2014). The importance of high competence in adolescence for career outcomes in midlife. Research in Human Development, 11(3), 204-216.
  3. Benzies, K.M., Wångby, M., & Bergman, L.R. (2008). Stability and change in health-related behaviors of midlife Swedish women. Health Care for Women International, 29, 997-1018.
  4. Bergman, L.R. (2000). The application of a person-oriented approach: Types and clusters. In L.R. Bergman, R.B. Cairns, L.-G. Nilsson, & L. Nystedt (Eds.), Developmental science and the holistic approach (Chapt. 9, pp. 137-154). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  5. Bergman, L.R. (2000). A methodological perspective. In B. Smedby, I. Lundberg, & T.I.A. Sörensen (Eds.), Scientific evaluation of the Swedish Twin (pp. 124-128). Stockholm: FRN.
  6. Bergman, L.R. (2000). I-states as objects analysis (ISOA) - a way to generate sequences of categories for longitudinal (CFA) analysis. Psychologische Beiträge, 42, 337-346.
  7. Bergman, L.R. (2001). (Guest Ed.). Modern interactionism. In Special Issue of European Psychologist, 6, 151-152.
  8. Bergman, L.R. (2001). A person approach in research on adolescence: Some methodological challenges. Journal of Adolescent Research, 16, 28-53.
  9. Bergman, L.R. (2002). Studying processes: Some methodological considerations. In L. Pulkkinen & A. Caspi (Eds.), Path to successful development. Personality in the life course (pp. 177-199). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  10. Bergman, L.R. (2009). Mediation and causality at the individual level. Integrative Psychological & Behavioral Science, 43, 248-252.
  11. Bergman, L.R. (2010). The interpretation of single observational units´ measurements. In M. Carlson, H. Nyquist, & M. Villani (Eds.), Official statistics: Methodology and applications in honour of Daniel Thorburn (pp. 37-49).  Stockholm: University of Stockholm.
  12. Bergman, L.R. (2012). Advancing developmental science: Some challenges and obstacles. International Journal of Developmental Science, 6(1-2), 41-43.
  13. Bergman, L.R. (2015). Developmental systems theory and the person-oriented approach. Subtitle: Commentary on: An Interpretation of Part of Gilbert Gottlieb’s Legacy: Developmental Systems Theory Contra Developmental Behavior Genetics. International Journal of Developmental Science, 9(1), 15-18.
  14. Bergman, L.R. (2015). Challenges for person-oriented research: Some considerations based on Laursen´s article I don´t quite get it … : Personal experiences with the person-oriented approach. Journal for Person-Oriented Research, 1(3), 163-170.
  15. Bergman, L.R., & Andershed, A.-K. (2008). Predictors and outcomes of persistent and age-limited registered criminal behavior: A 30-year longitudinal study of a Swedish urban population. Aggressive Behavior, 34, 1-14.
  16. Bergman, L. R., Andershed, H. & Andershed, A-K (2009). Types and continua in developmental psychopathology: Problem behaviors in school and their relationship to later antisocial  behavior. Development and Psychopathology, 21(3), 975-992.
  17. Bergman, L.R., & Andersson, H. (2010). The person and the variable in developmental psychology. Journal of Psychology, 218(3), 155-165.
  18. Bergman, L.R., & Brage, R. (2008). Survey experiences and later survey attitudes, intents and behaviour. Journal of Official Statistics, 24(1), 99-113.
  19. Bergman, L.R., Cairns, R.B., Nilsson, L.-G., & Nystedt, L. (Eds.). (2000). Developmental science and the holistic approach. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  20. Bergman, L.R., & Daukantaite, D. (2006). The importance of social circumstances for Swedish women’s subjective wellbeing. International Journal of Social Welfare, 15, 27-36.
  21. Bergman, L.R., & Daukantaite, D. (2007). Stability of typical patterns of subjective well-being in middle-aged Swedish women. Journal of Happiness Studies, 10(3), 293-311.
  22. Bergman, L.R., & El-Khouri, B.M. (2001). Developmental processes and the modern typological perspective. European Psychologist, 6, 177-186.
  23. Bergman, L.R., & El-Khouri, B.M. (2003). A person-oriented approach: Methods for today and methods for tomorrow. Special Issue of New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 101, 25-38.
  24. Bergman, L.R., & El-Khouri, B.M. (2005). The application of a person-oriented approach in longitudinal research on individual development. In ISSBD Newsletter, No. 2, Serial No. 48. Supplement to International Journal of Behavioral Development, 29, 10-13.
  25. Bergman, L.R., & Ferrer-Wreder, L. (Eds.). (2014). Special issue: The long-term development of Swedish adolescents with high IQ. Research in Human Development, 11(3), 161-246.
  26. Bergman, L.R., Ferrer-Wreder, L., & Zukauskiene, R. (2015). Career outcomes of adolescents with below average IQ: Who succeed against the odds? Intelligence, 52, 9-17.
  27. Bergman, L.R., Corovic, J., Ferrer-Wreder, L., & Modig, K. (2014). High IQ in early adolescence and career success in adulthood: Findings from a Swedish longitudinal study. Research in Human Development, 11(3), 165-185.
  28. Bergman, L.R., & Lundh, L.-G. (Eds.). (2015). The person-oriented approach: Roots and Roads to the Future. Journal for Person-Oriented Research, 1, Special issue 1-2, 1-109.
  29. Bergman, L.R., & Lundberg, O. (Eds.). (2006). Perspectives on determinants of social welfare. In Special Issue of International Journal of Social Welfare, 15(Suppl. 1), S1-S52.
  30. Bergman, L.R., & Magnusson, D. (2001). Person-centered research. In T. Cook & C. Ragin (Eds.), Logic of inquiry and research design. Vol. 8 of the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (pp. 11333-11339). Oxford: Elsevier.
  31. Bergman, L.R., Magnusson, D., & El-Khouri, B.M. (2003). Studying individual development in an interindividual context: A person-oriented approach. Vol. 4  in the series Paths through life (D. Magnusson, Ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  32. Bergman, L.R., & Nurmi, J-E. (2010).  Studying Patterns of Individual Development by I-States as Objects Analysis (ISOA). ISSBD Bulletin No. 1, Serial No. 57, 7-10.
  33. Bergman, L.R., Nurmi, J.-E., & von Eye, A.A. (2012). I-states-as-objects-analysis (ISOA): Extensions of an approach to studying short-term developmental processes by analyzing typical patterns. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 36, 237-246.
  34. Bergman, L.R., & Trost, K. (2006). The person-oriented versus the variable-oriented approach: Are they complementary, opposites, or exploring different worlds? Merrill Palmer Quarterly, 52, 601-632.
  35. Bergman, L.R., & Vargha, A. (2013). Matching method to problem: A developmental science perspective. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 10(1), 9-28.
  36. Bergman, L.R., von Eye, A., & Magnusson, D. (2006). Person-oriented research strategies in developmental psychopathology. In D. Cicchetti & D.J. Cohen (Ed.), Developmental psychopathology. Vol. 1: Theory and method (Chapt. 21, pp. 850-888). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  37. Daukantaite, D., & Bergman, L.R. (2005). Childhood roots of women’s subjective well-being. The role of optimism. European Psychologist, 10, 287-297.
  38. Grip, A., & Bergman, L.R. (2016). A nonlinear dynamic model applied to data with two times of measurement. Journal for Person-Oriented Research, 2, Special issue 1-2, 56-63.
  39. Kansi, J., Wichström, L., & Bergman, L.R. (2003). Eating problems and the self-concept: Results based on a representative sample of Norwegian adolescent girls. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 32, 325-335.
  40. Kansi, J., Wichström, L., & Bergman, L.R. (2005). Eating problems and their risk factors: A 7-year longitudinal study of a population sample of Norwegian adolescent girls. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 34, 521-531.
  41. Kiuru, N., Salmela-Aro, K., Nurmi, J.-E., Zettergren, P., & Bergman, L.R. (2012). Best friends in adolescence show similar educational careers in early adulthood. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 33(2), 102-111.
  42. Kokko, K., Bergman, L.R., & Pulkkinen, L. (2003). Child personality characteristics and selection into long-term unemployment in Finnish and Swedish longitudinal samples. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 27, 134-144.
  43. Larsson, J.-O., Bergman, L.R., Earls, F., & Rydelius, P.-A. (2004). Behavioral profiles in 4-5 year-old children: Normal and pathological variants. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 35, 143-162.
  44. Lövdén, M., Bergman, L.R., Adolfsson, R., Lindenberger, U., & Nilsson, L.-G. (2005). Studying individual aging in an interindividual context: Typical paths of age-related, dementia-related, and mortality-related cognitive development in old age. Psychology and Aging, 20, 303-316.
  45. Mahoney, J.L., & Bergman L.R. (2002). Conceptual and methodological considerations in a developmental approach to the study of positive adaptation. Applied Developmental Psychology, 23, 195-217.
  46. Modig, K., & Bergman, L. R. (2012). Associations between intelligence in adolescence and indicators of health and health behaviors in midlife in a cohort of Swedish women. Intelligence, 40(2), 82-90.
  47. Modig-Wennerstad, K., Silventoinen, K., Batty, D., Tynelius, P., Bergman, L.R., & Rasmussen, F. (2008). Association between offspring intelligence and parental mortality: A population-based cohort study of one million Swedish men. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 62(8), 722-727.
  48. Modig-Wennerstad, K.M., Silventoinen, K., Tynelius, P., Bergman, L., Kaprio, J., & Rasmussen, F. (2010). Associations between IQ and cigarette smoking among Swedish male twins. Social Science & Medicine, 70(4), 575-581.
  49. Stattin, H., Kerr, M., & Bergman, L. R. (2010). On the utility of Moffit´s typology trajectories in long-term perspective. European Journal of Criminology, 7(6), 521-545.
  50. Vargha, A., & Bergman, L.R. (2012). A method to maximize the information of a continuous variable in relation to a dichotomous grouping variable: Cutpoint analysis. Hungarian Statistical Review, 90, Special number 16, 101-122.
  51. Vargha, A., Bergman, L.R., & Delaney, H.D. (2013). Interpretational problems of the partial correlation with nonnormally distributed variables. Quality & Quantity, 47(6), 3391-3402.
  52. Vargha, A., Bergman, L.R., & Takacs, S. (2016). Performing cluster analysis within a person-oriented context.: Some methods for evaluating the quality of cluster solutions. Journal for Person-Oriented Research, 2, Special issue 1-2, 78-86.
  53. Vargha, A., Torma, B., & Bergman, L.R. (2015). ROPstat: A general statistical package useful for conducting person-oriented analysis. Journal for Person-Oriented Research, 1(1-2), 87-98.
  54. von Eye, A., & Bergman, L.R. (2003). Research strategies in developmental psychopathology: Dimensional identity and the person-oriented approach. Development and Psychopathology, 15, 553-580.
  55. von Eye, A., & Bergman, L.R. (2009). Person-orientation in person-situation research.  Journal of Research in Personality, 43, 276-277.
  56. Wiedermann, W., Bergman, L.R., & von Eye, A., Eds. (2016). Development in methods for person-oriented analysis. Journal for Person-Oriented Research, 2, Special issue 1-2, 1-122.
  57. Wulff, C., Bergman, L.R., & Sverke, M. (2009). General mental ability and satisfaction with school and work: A longitudinal study from ages 13 to 48. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 30, 398-408.
  58. Wångby, M., Bergman, L.R., & Magnusson, D. (1999). Development of adjustment problems in girls: What syndrome emerge? Child Development, 70, 678-699.
  59. Zettergren, P., & Bergman, L.R. (2014). Adolescents with high IQ and their adjustment in adolescence and midlife. Research in Human Development, 11(3), 186-203.
  60. Zettergren, P., Bergman, L.R., & Wångby, M. (2006). Girls’ stable peer status and their adulthood adjustment: A longitudinal study from age 10 to age 43. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 30, 315-325.


I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
  • 2015. Lars R. Bergman, Laura Ferrer-Wreder, Rita Zukauskiene. Intelligence 52, 9-17

    The educational and vocational careers of adolescents with below average IQ were studied in a sample of Swedish adolescents (N = 1326), born in 1955 and followed from early adolescence to midlife. Compared to those with average IQ, the level of education and occupational status achieved by those with below average IQ were, generally, considerably lower. This was the case, in particular, for female participants in the lowest IQ group. No significant relationships were found between parents' socioeconomic status and educational level, income, or occupational status in midlife for adolescents with low IQ (lowest 20%). When those with a successful educational or vocational career were compared to others on a number of competence factors, own educational aspirations stood out as the factor that differed most within each IQ group between those who succeeded and those who did not. The differences were largest for those of low IQ (effect sizes 0.4–1.6). These findings were consistent with results from multiple regression analyses, which, for instance, showed that, within the low IQ group and controlling for confounders, the only significant predictor of career outcomes was educational aspirations.

  • 2014. Peter Zettergren, Lars R. Bergman. RESEARCH IN HUMAN DEVELOPMENT 11 (3), 186-203

    The psychological and social adjustment of high-IQ adolescents (top 10%) were studied for a Swedish cohort born in 1955 (N = 1,326 with IQ data). The focus was on comparing high-IQ adolescents to adolescents of average IQ with regard to their adjustment in adolescence and 30 years later in midlife. The research design enabled us also to study linear and nonlinear relationships of high IQ to adjustment. In adolescence, those with high IQ had better adjustment than those of average IQ in most studied adjustment areas, most strongly so for school achievement, capacity to concentrate, and absence of unhappiness. Data from official records showed that higher IQ was related to less alcohol, criminal, and mental problems in childhood and young adulthood. In midlife, the adjustment differences between those of high IQ and those of average IQ were usually nonsignificant, but for some adjustment indicators, adjustment was moderately worse for the high-IQ group, for instance in global life satisfaction and in satisfaction with friend relations. Controlling for school achievement absorbed almost all significant IQ-adjustment associations, which supports the idea of school achievement as a mediator between IQ and adjustment.

  • 2014. Lars R. Bergman (et al.). Research in Human Development 11 (3), 165-185

    To what extent do intellectually talented adolescents pursue educational and vocational careers that match their intellectual resources? Career outcomes were compared between groups within different IQ ranges with a focus on comparing those with high IQ (top 10%, IQ > 119) to those with average IQ. Data were analyzed from the longitudinal Swedish IDA study (N = 1,326) with career outcomes measured in midlife (age 43–47). To obtain at least a master’s degree was almost 10 times more common for those of high IQ than for those of average IQ. Still, the proportion of high-IQ adolescents who did this was not high (13% of females, 34% of males) and as much as 20% of them did not even graduate from 3-year high school. For men only, there was a graded raise in income by IQ group.Within the high-IQ group there was no significant relationship between parents’ socioeconomic status and income. For men, high IQ predicted a strongly increased income/vocational level in midlife beyond what was predicted from a linear model of the IQ-outcome relationship.

  • 2014. Lars R. Bergman, Laura Ferrer-Wreder. Research in Human Development 11 (3), 237-240

    This article provides a summary and treatment of the wider implications of the findings reported in four empirical articles, in which the importance for outcomes in midlife of having a high IQ was studied. All studies were based on data from the Swedish longitudinal research program Individual Development and Adaptation (N = 1,326, born 1955). Some highlights from the studies include the identification of a nonlinear relationship between IQ and a number of adult outcomes, suggesting that nonlinear IQ-outcome relationships might not be rare. In common with numerous studies of IQ-outcome relationships, parents’ socioeconomic status was found to be a moderately strong predictor of vocational outcomes when the whole sample was studied. However, within the high-IQ group no significant relationship existed. In adolescence, the adjustment for those of high IQ was often better than for those of average IQ, but in midlife this positive difference often disappeared and was in some cases reversed. Intellectually talented women as compared to intellectually talented men often had considerably less successful careers, especially vocational careers. Underachieving women as compared to women who did not underachieve also tended to have more adjustment roblems in midlife. It was concluded that schools and their personnel must be adequately supported to “make good on” society’s obligation to further the potential of students that show early intellectual talent. Given past and current inequalities of opportunity, this seems especially important for bright girls and women.

  • 2014. Miia Bask (et al.). Gender Differences in Aspirations and Attainment, 389-411

    In this chapter, we apply the expectancy-value model of motivation, particularly the family socialization aspect of the model (Eccles (Parsons) et al., 1983; Eccles, 1994, 2007; Wigfield & Eccles, 2002) to address a number of key questions regarding gender differences in adult attainment, in particular educational attainment. When some individuals in the work force of today were children, what kinds of expectations did they have for themselves? What expectations did their parents have for them? Did these expectations vary for girls and boys? Were parents' expectations about their children's future education related to the actual education that these adolescents later attained in midlife? How did the child's academic ability and characteristics of the family figure into this picture? We present original empirical findings, drawing on data collected for a Swedish longitudinal study that spans from childhood to middle adulthood. In line with the expectancy-value model of motivation, the family's socioeconomic status (SES) was identified as an important predictor of several outcomes. Consistent with the model, for both genders, the family's SES and parental educational expectations in middle adolescence predicted middle adult educational attainment. The importance of grades differed by gender in that the mathematics grade was a statistically significant predictor of middle adult educational attainment for males, while for females grades in Swedish were a statistically significant predictor of middle adult educational attainment. In this chapter, we situated these study findings in the wider pertinent scholarly literature and discussed the implications of our results as they might relate to efforts to promote equitable and optimal life chances for the current generation of European girls and boys.

  • 2014. Lars R. Bergman, Laura Ferrer-Wreder. Research in Human Development 11 (3), 161-164

    Inquiry into what intellectual talent is and how social institutions can support intellectually talented youth are historic, internationally held concerns. This article provides an introduction to a special issue that deals with the implications of high IQ in early adolescence for several important midlife outcomes. From a societal perspective, it is vital to know the extent to which intellectually talented youth attain an advanced education and become engaged in qualified occupations. Studies in this issue document a diversity of midlife outcomes for a large, reasonably representative urban cohort of intellectually talented Swedish adolescents, as well as consider the importance of gender and social class for these outcomes.

  • 2014. Håkan Andersson, Johanna Lovén, Lars R. Bergman. RESEARCH IN HUMAN DEVELOPMENT 11 (3), 204-216

    Earlier studies have indicated the importance of IQ, educational aspirations, school grades, and task persistence during childhood and adolescence for later educational and vocational attainment. In this study, these characteristics were studied from a person-oriented perspective, identifying typical competence profiles using cluster analysis. The aim was to investigate a potential career bonus for adolescents with a highly positive competence profile for later educational and occupational success. Data were analyzed from the longitudinal Swedish Individual Development and Adaptation (IDA) study (N = 1326) with career outcomes measured in midlife (age 43-47). Results showed that having a highly positive competence profile predicted higher income and increased the probability of having a high occupational level, controlling for the separate competence components. The effects were only significant for males. Taken together, our findings support the idea that adolescent boys with a highly positive competence profile are optimized for career success to a larger extent than could be expected from the competence components considered separately.

Visa alla publikationer av Lars R Bergman vid Stockholms universitet

Senast uppdaterad: 16 maj 2017

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