Category: Addictive Behaviors

Symposium

Multilevel Structural Equation Modeling: Protective Strategies as a Mediator of Alcohol Contexts Across and Within Individuals

Friday, November 17
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Aqua Salon E & F, Level 3, Aqua Level

Keywords: Addictive Behaviors | Alcohol | Research Methods
Presentation Type: Symposium

Substance use is dynamic and nuanced, requiring daily, event level, or even more frequent assessments to capture complex relations. Moreover, a growing body of addictive behavior literature provides compelling evidence for the examination of both between-person (characteristics that differ between respondents) and within-person (intra-individual; characteristics that vary within people over time) relationships among alcohol-related constructs. Daily process examinations and ecological momentary or ambulatory assessment support the examination of between- and within-person effects, demonstrating a great deal of variability within-person, and substantial differences among relations between- versus within-person. Multilevel modeling is often necessary to account for violations of independence assumptions. Simultaneously, clinical research on addictive behaviors often focuses on substantive behavior examinations, such as mechanisms of behavior change. These research questions are often best addressed via structural equation modeling (SEM), which allows for more flexibility for concurrent multivariate investigations. Multilevel SEM (MSEM) allows for the multivariate structural flexibility of SEM in dynamic multilevel investigations both across groups and within individuals over repeated assessments. The utility of MSEM will be demonstrated via an examination into the daily associations between drinking context (where participants drink and with whom) and alcohol outcomes through the use of protective behavioral strategies. This analysis will address both the daily-level relations among choices that day as well as the person-level relations among trait-like components. The demonstration will show the basic steps of MSEM, including model building to explore the inclusion of direct effects and covariates as well as an examination into fixed versus random within-person effects. MSEM has important implications for clinical practice, including ecologically valid examinations of substance use to address flexible research questions (such as mechanisms of change) both across groups and within individuals. 

Abby L. Braitman

Old Dominion University

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Multilevel Structural Equation Modeling: Protective Strategies as a Mediator of Alcohol Contexts Across and Within Individuals



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