Differences in causal estimates from longitudinal analyses of residualized versus simple gain scores: Contrasting controls for selection and regression artifacts

Robert E. Larzelere, Emilio Ferrer, Brett R. Kuhn, Ketevan Danelia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study estimates the causal effects of six corrective actions for children's problem behaviors, comparing four types of longitudinal analyses that correct for pre-existing differences in a cohort of 1,464 4- and 5-year-olds from Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) data. Analyses of residualized gain scores found apparently detrimental effects of all corrective actions by parents and professionals on subsequent antisocial behavior and hyperactivity. In contrast, analyses of simple gain scores found only apparently beneficial effects. Temporally reversed analyses yielded the same pattern of results, consistent with selection biases and regression artifacts, not with unidirectional causal effects. The findings were similar for corrective actions by professionals (e.g., Ritalin, psychotherapy) and by parents (physical and nonphysical punishment, scolding/yelling, "hostile-ineffective" parenting). Longitudinal analyses should check for similar artifacts by implementing temporally-reversed analyses and by determining whether causally relevant coefficients would replicate without artifacts biased in their favor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-189
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Antisocial behavior
  • Causal inference
  • Growth curve analysis
  • Longitudinal analyses
  • Selection bias
  • Structural equation modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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