Latent growth curve models are widely used in the social and behavioral sciences to study complex developmental patterns of change over time. The trajectories of these developmental patterns frequently exhibit distinct segments in the studied variables. Latent growth models with piecewise functions for repeated measurements of variables have become increasingly popular for modeling such developmental trajectories. A major problem with using piecewise models is determining the precise location of the point where the change in the process has occurred and uncovering the related number of segments. The purpose of this paper is to introduce an optimization procedure that can be used to determine both the segments and location of the knots in piecewise linear latent growth models. The procedure is illustrated using empirical data in order to detect the number of segments and change points. The results demonstrate the capabilities of the procedure for fitting latent growth curve models.
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- latent growth curve models
- piecewise linear latent growth models