How Well Can Two-Wave Models Recover the Three-Wave Second Order Latent Model Parameters?


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Virginia Tech


Although previous studies on structural equation modeling (SEM) have indicated that the second-order latent growth model (SOLGM) is a more appropriate approach to longitudinal intervention effects, its application still requires researchers to collect at least three-wave data (e.g. randomized pretest, posttest, and follow-up design). However, in some circumstances, researchers can only collect two-wave data for resource limitations. With only two-wave data, the SOLGM can not be identified and researchers often choose alternative SEM models to fit two-wave data. Recent studies show that the two-wave longitudinal common factor model (2W-LCFM) and latent change score model (2W-LCSM) can perform well for comparing latent change between groups. However, there still lacks empirical evidence about how accurately these two-wave models can estimate the group effects of latent change obtained by three-wave SOLGM (3W-SOLGM). The main purpose of this dissertation, therefore, is trying to examine to what extent the fixed effects of the tree-wave SOLGM can be recovered from the parameter estimates of the two-wave LCFM and LCSM given different simulation conditions.

Fundamentally, the supplementary study (study 2) using three-wave LCFM was established to help justify the logistics of different model comparisons in our main study (study 1). The data generating model in both studies is 3W-SOLGM and there are in total 5 simulation factors (sample size, group differences in intercept and slope, the covariance between the slope and intercept, size of time-specific residual, change the pattern of time-specific residual). Three main types of evaluation indices were used to assess the quality of estimation (bias/relative bias, standard error, and power/type I error rate). The results in the supplementary study show that the performance of 3W-LCFM and 3W-LCSM are equivalent, which further justifies the different models' comparison in the main study. The point estimates for the fixed effect parameters obtained from the two-wave models are unbiased or identical to the ones from the three-wave model. However, using two-wave models could reduce the estimation precision and statistical power when the time-specific residual variance is large and changing pattern is heteroscedastic (non-constant). Finally, two real datasets were used to illustrate the simulation results.



Latent Curve Model, Longitudinal Common Factor Model, Latent Change Score Model, Fixed Effects Parameters