Multilevel Modeling and Multilevel Structural Equation Modeling in Lifespan Developmental Analyses
- Kimberly L. FineKimberly L. FineArizona State University, Psychology
- and Kevin J. GrimmKevin J. GrimmArizona State University, Department of Psychology
Multilevel modeling is a data analytic framework that is appropriate when analyzing data that are dependent due to the clustering of observations in higher-level units. Clustered data appear in a variety of disciplines, which makes multilevel modeling a necessary data analytic tool for many researchers. Longitudinal data are a special kind of clustered data as the repeated observations are clustered within individuals. Multilevel models can be applied to longitudinal data to examine how individuals change over time and how individuals differ in their change processes over time. For longitudinal data, linear multilevel models, where the fixed- and random-effects parameters enter the model in a linear fashion, and nonlinear multilevel models, where at least one fixed-and/or random-effect parameter enters the model in a nonlinear fashion are commonly estimated to examine different forms of the individual change process. Multilevel structural equation modeling is an extension of multilevel modeling that allows for multivariate outcomes, and this framework is very useful for modeling multivariate longitudinal data (e.g., multivariate growth models and second-order growth models).