Dynamic change meets mechanisms of change: Examining mediators in the latent change score framework

Chanler D. Hilley, Holly P. O’Rourke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Researchers in behavioral sciences are often interested in longitudinal behavior change outcomes and the mechanisms that influence changes in these outcomes over time. The statistical models that are typically implemented to address these research questions do not allow for investigation of mechanisms of dynamic change over time. However, latent change score models allow for dynamic change (not just linear or exponential change) over time and have flexibility in parameter constraints that other longitudinal models do not have. Developmental researchers also frequently utilize mediation analyses to investigate mechanisms of influence in longitudinal research implemented in path analytic or latent growth curve models. In this article, we provide three examples of how mediation can be tested in the latent change score framework by combining aspects of traditional mediation models with latent change score models of repeated measures outcomes (and mediators and predictors) with more than two timepoints. We also provide the Mplus syntax to complete these analyses and practical considerations of latent change score mediation (LCSM) models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • latent change
  • latent difference
  • longitudinal
  • mediation
  • Quantitative methods
  • structural equation modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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