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Ken Bollen and Iliya Gutin: What longitudinal model should I choose?

February 5, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

On February 5, 2021, Ken Bollen and Iliya Gutin will present “What longitudinal model should I choose?” as part of the Carolina Population Center’s 2020-21 Interdisciplinary Research Seminar Series. This year, the CPC Interdisciplinary Research Seminars will be open to both CPC members and Social Epidemiology program members.


With the growing availability of longitudinal data comes the question of what model to use? In an ideal world, theory and substantive arguments would be sufficiently clear to dictate one. But in practice, there is little guidance and academic fads or the practice in researchers’ fields typically affect model choice. We illustrate how a general longitudinal model (LV-ALT) can help researchers in their selection. The LV-ALT model can specialize to other popular models such as the classic random or fixed effects, growth curve models, autoregressive, latent difference scores, and a variety of other hybrid structures. The LV-ALT model can help to defend the choice of one of these traditional models or it can suggest new hybrid models to consider.  We illustrate our results with Add Health NLYS79 data on self reported health and an analysis from a forthcoming Demography paper.


Kenneth A. Bollen is the Henry Rudolph Immerwahr Distinguished Professor of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and the Department of Sociology. He is a Fellow of the Carolina Population Center and oversees the Methods Consulting Services. He has been at UNC since 1985. From 2000 to 2010, he was the Director of the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science.

Bollen’s primary research focus is the creation and application of new statistical tools for the social and behavioral sciences with specializations in structural equation models, latent variables, and longitudinal modeling. Most of his current applications are in population and health studies. Google Scholar lists over 110,000 citations to his work. His methodological contributions have been recognized by lifetime achievement awards in two disciplines, Sociology (Paul F. Lazarsfeld Memorial Award for Distinguished Contributions in the Field of Sociological Methodology, 2000) and Psychology (Career Award for Lifetime Achievement. Psychometric Society, 2018). In 2019, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University (Sweden). He is the former Chair of the National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences and is an elected Fellow in a number of scholarly organizations.


Iliya Gutin is a doctoral candidate in sociology and predoctoral trainee at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, having received his BA in Sociology at the University of Chicago and then worked at the NORC research organization as a research analyst. His current work focuses on the conceptualization, definition, and measurement of health, illness, and disease in medical and social research, and how these decisions influence what it means to be “healthy” in a highly-dynamic and stratified society. Specifically, his dissertation examines clinical, epidemiologic, and subjective ambiguity in our understanding of body weight as a health risk, and how we can better account for this uncertainty in studying population health. Iliya hopes to continue this kind of work throughout his career, collaborating with health researchers across different disciplines and backgrounds to achieve closer and more meaningful linkages between the health concepts, issues, and disparities we are interested in and the measures we have access to our data.


This event will be held on Zoom. You can register here. We will post a recording after the talk. You can see previous events here.


February 5, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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