The ABC's of LGM: An Introductory Guide to Latent Variable Growth Curve Modeling

Soc Personal Psychol Compass. 2009 Dec 1;3(6):979-991. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-9004.2009.00224.x.


In recent years, we have witnessed an increase in the complexity of theoretical models that attempt to explain behavior from both contextual and developmental perspectives. This increase in the complexity of our theoretical propositions regarding behavior parallels recent methodological advances for the analysis of change.These new analysis techniques have fundamentally altered how we conceptualize and study change. Researchers have begun to identify larger frameworks to integrate our knowledge regarding the analysis of change. One such framework is latent growth modeling, perhaps the most important and influential statistical revolution to have recently occurred in the social and behavioral sciences. This paper presents a basic introduction to a latent growth modeling approach for analyzing repeated measures data. Included is the specification and interpretation of the growth factors, primary extensions such as the analysis of growth in multiple populations, and structural models including both precursors of growth, and subsequent outcomes hypothesized to be influenced by the growth functions.