This talk reviews guiding principles of the life course paradigm and discusses how existing methodology implements them in empirical research. An application of end-of-life health trajectories based on the US Health and Retirement Study demonstrates the added value of specifying 'processes outcomes' as proposed by Andrew Abbott for empirical life course research. Using sequence, cluster, and multinomial logistic regression methods five typical trajectories of joint functional limitations and depression are identified, including two resilient groups of medium and high functional limitations combined with stable low depression. The two resilient groups have often gone unnoticed in previous research focusing on either functional limitations or depression, but are important from a social policy perspective. I conclude with an overview of avenues for future research to more closely align life course theory and empirical research.
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The seminar is a part of the series of international seminars that are organised by the European Centre.