Methods for Multilevel Ordinal Data in Prevention Research

Prev Sci. 2015 Oct;16(7):997-1006. doi: 10.1007/s11121-014-0495-x.


This paper discusses statistical models for multilevel ordinal data that may be more appropriate for prevention outcomes than models that assume continuous measurement and normality. Prevention outcomes often have distributions that make them inappropriate for many popular statistical models that assume normality and are more appropriately considered ordinal outcomes. Despite this, the modeling of ordinal outcomes is often not well understood. This article discusses ways to analyze multilevel ordinal outcomes that are clustered or longitudinal, including the proportional odds regression model for ordinal outcomes, which assumes that the covariate effects are the same across the levels of the ordinal outcome. The article will cover how to test this assumption and what to do if it is violated. It will also discuss application of these models using computer software programs.

Keywords: Clustered data; Longitudinal data; Proportional odds model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Preventive Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Research / organization & administration*