Statistical Methods Seminar Description
Overview: An introduction to “person-centered” data analysis. Topics include latent class analysis, latent class cluster analysis, modeling predictors and outcomes of latent class membership, and select extensions. Hands-on practice with Mplus is provided.
This five-day camp is an intensive short seminar in the fundamentals of finite mixture modeling.
Finite mixture models are a type of latent variable model that express the overall distribution of one or more variables as a mixture of a finite number of component distributions. In direct applications, one assumes that the overall population heterogeneity with respect to a set of manifest variables is due to the existence of two or more distinct homogeneous subgroups, or latent classes, of individuals. These approaches are often termed “person-centered” analyses in contrast to the “variable-centered” analyses of conventional factor and SEM models.
This seminar will introduce participants to the prevailing “best practices” for direct applications of basic finite mixture modeling to cross-sectional data, specifically latent profile analysis (LPA) also known as latent class cluster analysis (LCCA. s), in terms of model assumptions, specification, estimation, evaluation, selection, and interpretation. Models that allow for the inclusion of correlates and predictors of latent class membership as well as distal outcomes of latent class membership will be presented. The seminar will also explore “hybrid” latent variable models that include both latent factors and latent classes (termed factor mixture models) and will touch briefly on some longitudinal extensions of mixture modeling, as time allows (for a more in-depth treatment, see the Stats Camp Session 2 seminar on longitudinal mixture modeling). The implementation of these models in the most recent version of the Mplus software will be demonstrated throughout the seminar.
Instructor: Whitney Moore, Ph.D.
Whitney G. Moore, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Exercise and Sport Science in the Division of Kinesiology, Health & Sport Studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. Whitney received in doctorate in the Psychosocial Aspects of Health and Physical Activity from the University of Kansas. The two aspects of her research complement each other by bringing cutting edge methodology and analysis to her examination of how leaders in physical activity settings foster an optimal motivational climate for maximizing positive youth development and physical activity participation in the future. Whitney has published on the use and effectiveness of planned missing data design implementation, in addition to using planned missing data designs when collecting her own data. She enjoys collaborating with colleagues across different disciplines, including Physical & Health Education, Community Health, Educational Psychology, and Clinical Psychology. Through these collaborations and her own work, Whitney’s publications include the development and/or revision of over half a dozen quantitative measures. In addition to her involvement with Stats Camp since 2010, she has taught graduate level research methods, analysis, and measure development courses since 2013.
Software and Computer Support
Participants should bring a laptop computer. Instruction will be provided for the methods using the most current version of Mplus (base program with mixture add-on or base program with combination add-on). Mplus is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux environments (www.statmodel.com).
Participants who do not have access to software will be given temporary access to the server that contains fully functioning versions of the recommended software.
Note: We will also make use of Excel and R to do various post-processing summaries.
Participants will receive an electronic copy of all seminar materials, including PowerPoint slides, Mplus scripts, output files, relevant supporting documentation, and recommended readings.
If you are interested in learning “person-centered” statistical modeling techniques that can identify unobserved subgroups (latent classes) characterized by qualitative differences in observed multivariate outcome distributions, this seminar is for you. You should have a good working knowledge of the principles and practice of multiple regression and elementary statistical inference. You will get the most out of the seminar if you already have experience with binary and multinomial logistic regression. You do not need to know matrix algebra, likelihood theory, or SEM, although that knowledge would be beneficial. No previous knowledge of mixture modeling, latent class analysis, or Mplus is assumed. Participants from a variety of fields—including psychology, education, human development, public health, prevention science, sociology, marketing, business, biology, medicine, political science, and communication—will benefit from the seminar.