Estimating a three-level latent variable regression model with cross-classified multiple membership data
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The current study proposed a new model, termed the cross-classified multiple membership latent variable regression (CCMM-LVR) model, to be utilized for multiple membership data structures (for example, in the presence of student mobility across schools) that provides an extension to the three-level latent variable regression model (HM3-LVR). The HM3-LVR model is beneficial for testing more flexible, directional hypotheses about growth trajectory parameters and handles pure clustering of participants within higher-level units. However, the HM3-LVR model involves the assumption that students remain in the same cluster (school) throughout the duration of the time period of interest. The CCMM-LVR model, on the other hand, appropriately models the participants’ changing clusters over time. The first purpose of this study was to demonstrate use and interpretation of the CCMM-LVR model and its parameters with a large-scale longitudinal dataset that had a multiple membership data structure (i.e., student mobility). The impact of ignoring mobility in the real data was investigated by comparing parameter estimates, standard error estimates, and model fit indices for the two estimating models (CCMM-LVR and HM3-LVR). The second purpose of the dissertation was to conduct a simulation study to try to understand the source of potential differences between the two estimating models and find out which model’s estimates were closer to the truth given the conditions investigated. The manipulated conditions in the simulation study included the mobility rate, number of clustering units, number of individuals (i.e., students) per cluster (here, school), and number of measurement occasions per individual. The outcomes investigated in the simulation study included relative parameter bias, relative standard error bias, root mean square error, and coverage rates of the 95% credible intervals. Substantial bias was found across conditions for both models, but the CCMM-LVR model resulted in the least amount of relative parameter bias and more efficient estimates of the parameters, especially for larger numbers of clustering units. The results of the real data and simulation studies are discussed, along with the implications for applied researchers for when to consider using the CCMM-LVR model versus the misspecified HM3-LVR model.