, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 330-342
Date: 20 Jan 2012

Distinguishing Between-Person and Within-Person Relationships in Longitudinal Health Research: Arthritis and Quality of Life

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Abstract

Background

Many health measures (e.g., blood pressure, quality of life) have meaningful fluctuation over time around a relatively stable mean level for each person.

Purpose

This didactic paper describes two closely related statistical models for examining between-person and within-person relationships between two or more sets of measures collected over time: the latent intercept model with correlated residuals (LI) in structural equation modeling framework and the multivariate multilevel model (MVML) in multilevel modeling framework.

Results

We illustrated that the basic LI model and the MVML model are equivalent. We presented an illustrative example using a national arthritis data resource to examine between-person and within-person relationships of symptom status, functional health, and quality of life in arthritis patients.

Discussion

Additional design and modeling issues for the treatment of missing data are considered. We discuss contexts in which one of the two models may be preferred. Mplus and SAS syntax are available.