An investigation of power analysis approaches for latent growth modeling

Document
Description

Designing studies that use latent growth modeling to investigate change over time calls for optimal approaches for conducting power analysis for a priori determination of required sample size. This

Designing studies that use latent growth modeling to investigate change over time calls for optimal approaches for conducting power analysis for a priori determination of required sample size. This investigation (1) studied the impacts of variations in specified parameters, design features, and model misspecification in simulation-based power analyses and (2) compared power estimates across three common power analysis techniques: the Monte Carlo method; the Satorra-Saris method; and the method developed by MacCallum, Browne, and Cai (MBC). Choice of sample size, effect size, and slope variance parameters markedly influenced power estimates; however, level-1 error variance and number of repeated measures (3 vs. 6) when study length was held constant had little impact on resulting power. Under some conditions, having a moderate versus small effect size or using a sample size of 800 versus 200 increased power by approximately .40, and a slope variance of 10 versus 20 increased power by up to .24. Decreasing error variance from 100 to 50, however, increased power by no more than .09 and increasing measurement occasions from 3 to 6 increased power by no more than .04. Misspecification in level-1 error structure had little influence on power, whereas misspecifying the form of the growth model as linear rather than quadratic dramatically reduced power for detecting differences in slopes. Additionally, power estimates based on the Monte Carlo and Satorra-Saris techniques never differed by more than .03, even with small sample sizes, whereas power estimates for the MBC technique appeared quite discrepant from the other two techniques. Results suggest the choice between using the Satorra-Saris or Monte Carlo technique in a priori power analyses for slope differences in latent growth models is a matter of preference, although features such as missing data can only be considered within the Monte Carlo approach. Further, researchers conducting power analyses for slope differences in latent growth models should pay greatest attention to estimating slope difference, slope variance, and sample size. Arguments are also made for examining model-implied covariance matrices based on estimated parameters and graphic depictions of slope variance to help ensure parameter estimates are reasonable in a priori power analysis.