Effects of study duration, frequency of observation, and sample size on power in studies of group differences in polynomial change

Psychol Methods. 2001 Dec;6(4):387-401.


Consider a study in which 2 groups are followed over time to assess group differences in the average rate of change, rate of acceleration, or higher degree polynomial effect. In designing such a study, one must decide on the duration of the study, frequency of observation, and number of participants. The authors consider how these choices affect statistical power and show that power depends on a standardized effect size, the sample size, and a person-specific reliability coefficient. This reliability, in turn, depends on study duration and frequency. These relations enable researchers to weigh alternative designs with respect to feasibility and power. The authors illustrate the approach using data from published studies of antisocial thinking during adolescence and vocabulary growth during infancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / diagnosis
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Language Development
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Psychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychology, Experimental / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics*
  • Social Perception
  • Vocabulary