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December 2021

The application of latent curve analysis to testing developmental theories in intervention research

Author(s): Muthen, B. O.

Journal/Book: Amer J Commun Psychol. 1999; 27: 233 Spring St, New York, NY 10013, USA. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publ. 567-595.

Abstract: The effectiveness of a prevention or intervention program has traditionally been assessed rising time-specific comparisons of mean levels between the treatment and the control groups. However, many times the behavior targeted by the intervention is naturally developing over rime, and the goal of the treatment is to alter this natural or normative developmental trajectory. Examining rime-specific mean levels can be both limiting and potentially misleading when the behavior of interest is developing systematically over time. Ir is argued here that there are both theoretical and statistical advantages associated with recasting intervention treatment effects in terms of normative and altered developmental trajectories. The recently developed technique of latent curve (LC) analysis is reviewed and extended to a true experimental design setting in which subjects are randomly assigned to a treatment intervention or a control condition. LC models are applied to both artificially generated and real intervention data sets to evaluate the efficacy of an intervention program. Not only do die LC models provide a more comprehensive understanding of the treatment and control group developmental processes compared to more traditional fixed-effects models, but LC models have greater statistical power to detect a given treatment effect. Finally, the LC models are modified to allow for the computation of specific power estimates under a variety of conditions and assumptions that can provide much needed information for the planning and design of more powerful bur cost-efficient intervention programs for the future.

Note: Article Curran PJ, Univ N Carolina, Dept Psychol, CB 3270, Chapel Hill,NC 27599 USA

Keyword(s): latent curve analysis; developmental theories; intervention research; COVARIANCE STRUCTURE-ANALYSIS; INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES; LIKERT VARIABLES; TEST STATISTICS; BEHAVIOR; MODELS; PATTERNS; GROWTH; METHODOLOGIES; SIZE


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