Bayesian Modeling of Associations in Bivariate Piecewise Linear Mixed-Effects Models

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Longitudinal processes rarely occur in isolation; often the growth curves of 2 or more variables are interdependent. Moreover, growth curves rarely exhibit a constant pattern of change. Many educational and psychological phenomena are comprised of different developmental phases (segments). Bivariate piecewise linear mixed-effects models (BPLMEM) are a useful and flexible statistical framework that allow simultaneous modeling of 2 processes that portray segmented change and investigates their associations over time. The purpose of the present study was to develop a BPLMEM using a Bayesian inference approach allowing the estimation of the association between the error variances and providing a more robust modeling choice for the joint random-effects of the 2 processes. This study aims to improve upon the limitations of the prior literature on bivariate piecewise mixed-effects models, such as only allowing the modeling of uncorrelated residual errors across the 2 longitudinal processes and restricting modeling choices for the random effects. The performance of the BPLMEM was investigated via a Monte Carlo simulation study. Furthermore, the utility of BPLMEM was illustrated by using a national educational dataset, Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K), where we examined the joint development of mathematics and reading achievement scores and the association between their trajectories over 7 measurement occasions. The findings obtained shed new light on the relationship between these 2 prominent educational domains over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychological Methods
Early online dateOct 8 2020
StateE-pub ahead of print - Oct 8 2020

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Psychological Association.


  • Bayesian modeling
  • Bivariate models
  • Bivariate nonlinear mixed-effects models
  • Piecewise models
  • Segmented processes


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