Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 330–342 | Cite as

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

Original Article



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


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.


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.


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.


Between-person and within-person relationship Latent intercept model Multivariate multilevel model HRQOL Arthritis 

Supplementary material

12160_2011_9341_MOESM1_ESM.doc (24 kb)
ESM 1(DOC 24 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBoston CollegeChestnut HillUSA
  2. 2.Arizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  3. 3.University of Colorado DenverDenverUSA

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