Longitudinal and cross-sectional estimates of pulmonary function decline in never-smoking adults

James H. Ware, Douglas W. Dockery, Thomas A. Louis, Xiping Xu, Benjamin G. Ferris, Frank E. Speizer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Scopus citations


This paper describes methods for simultaneous cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis of repeated measurements obtained in cohort studies with regular examination schedules, then uses these methods to describe age-related changes in pulmonary function level among nonsmoking participants in the Six Cities Study, a longitudinal study of air pollution and respiratory health conducted between 1974 and 1983 in Watertown, Massachusetts; Kingston and Harriman, Tennessee; St. Louis, Missouri; Steubenville, Ohio; Portage, Wisconsin; and Topeka, Kansas. The subjects, initially aged 25-74, were examined on three occasions at 3-year intervals. Individual rates of loss increased more rapidly with age than predicted from the cross-sectional model. For example, for a male of height 1.75 m, the cross-sectional model predicted an increase in the annual rate of loss of FEV1 from 23.7 ml/yr at age 25 to 39.0 ml/yr at age 75, while the longitudinal model gave rates of loss increasing from 12.9 ml/yr at age 25 to 58.2 ml/yr at age 75. These results contrast with those of other studies comparing longitudinal and cross-sectional estimates of pulmonary function loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-700
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Cross-sectional studies
  • Longitudinal studies
  • Lung
  • Models
  • Respiratory function tests
  • Spirometry
  • Statistical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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