International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

Research Methodology Interest Group Sponsors Specialty Training Course on Longitudinal Data Analysis

Posted 1 October 1999 in StressPoints by Daniel King, PhD, and Lynda King, PhD., National Center for PTSD

In the last few years, research methodologists witnessed enormous advances in the analysis of change.

At the upcoming ISTSS Miami Meeting, Nov. 14-17, members will have the opportunity to gain insight into the latest thinking about longitudinal research strategies at a Specialty Training Course on Saturday, prior to the meeting, titled "Introduction to Longitudinal Data Analysis: Growth Modeling and Incomplete Data." ISTSS' Research Methodology Interest Group sponsors the half-day session and Darin Erickson and Daniel King will conduct the course.

The course will be presented at an introductory level, and should be most beneficial to those with graduate level statistics coursework and familiarity with regression analysis. First, Erickson and King will introduce the notion of a growth curve or growth trajectory that describes a single individual's progression on a variable over time and the application of structural equation models to the analysis of such prospective longitudinal data. Next, the basic longitudinal growth curve model will be presented, followed by variations that address more complicated questions such as those arising in treatment outcome studies. The course also will demonstrate new techniques that enable the researcher to retain study participants even in the absence of large portions of data. It will conclude with a segment devoted to the handling of incomplete or missing data, a frequent concern in prospective longitudinal research.

Darin Erickson has doctoral training in social psychology, with special emphasis in psychological statistics and methods. From 1997-1999, he worked as a research associate and Gulf War Studies project coordinator at the Women's Health Sciences Division of the National Center for PTSD in Boston. He is currently a research fellow in the division of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota. Dan King is a quantitative psychologist who holds the positions of Research Psychologist at the Behavioral Science Division of the National Center for PTSD in Boston and Research Professor at Boston University School of Medicine.

The Research Methodology Interest Group will sponsor other symposia and workshops at the annual meeting such as sessions on strategies for establishing cross-cultural validity, data mining and data warehousing, and the clinician-to-researcher transition process.

The interest group seeks to foster communication between investigators and practitioners and to provide educational opportunities on the most current, state-of-the-art methodological approaches for trauma research. The group will meet at the conference in Miami. All interested individuals are invited to attend. The co-chairs are Daniel and Lynda King, and can be contacted at National Center for PTSD (116B-2), VA Boston Healthcare System, 150 S. Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02130; tel, 617/566-8617; king.daniel@boston.va.gov or lking@world.std.com.