The literature on latent change score models does not discuss the importance of using a precise time metric when structuring the data. This study examined the influence of time metric precision on model estimation, model interpretation, and parameter estimate accuracy in bivariate LCS (BLCS) models through simulation. Longitudinal data were generated with a panel study where assessments took place during a given time window with variation in start time and measurement lag. The data were analyzed using precise time metric, where variation in time was accounted for, and then analyzed using coarse time metric indicating only that the assessment took place during the time window. Results indicated that models estimated using the coarse time metric resulted in biased parameter estimates as well as larger standard errors and larger variances and covariances for intercept and slope. In particular, the coupling parameter estimates—which are unique to BLCS models—were biased with larger standard errors. An illustrative example of longitudinal bivariate relations between math and reading achievement in a nationally representative survey of children is then used to demonstrate how results and conclusions differ when using time metrics of varying precision. Implications and future directions are discussed.
- Latent difference score models
- longitudinal data analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistics and Probability
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)