Instability in longitudinal childhood IQ scores of Guatemalan high SES individuals born between 1941-1953.

Childhood IQ has been used to predict later life outcomes across disciplines in epidemiology, education, and psychology. Most often only a single childhood IQ test is available or is used for these purposes in the belief that IQ is stable across the life course. The primary aim of this study was to examine the longitudinal stability of individuals' IQ test scores derived from school-age tests. The secondary aim was to investigate the association of the pre-adult scores with later life intelligence scores. The longitudinal pre-adult IQ scores of 42 high socioeconomic status Guatemalans born 1941-1953 were analysed and showed low stability of longitudinal test scores. Fluctuations of >1SD were found for 59.5% of the sample. The same participants, aged 64-76 years, were re-assessed and average pre-adult IQ explained 12% of variance in the older age intelligence score. The reasons behind the longitudinal instability in test scores reported in this study remains unknown but the results suggest single point measurements of intelligence before adulthood should be regarded with some caution.