The field of prevention relies heavily on understanding causal processes as a way of identifying potential targets for prevention and how interventions operate to achieve their effects. Statistical mediation analysis is a critical tool fr prevention research because it helps explain how an independent variable exerts its effect on a dependent variable. Furthermore, the use of multiple methods and/or multiple raters to assess the constructs of interest in prevention science is greatly valued, because multimethod studies are more informative than single method designs and allow for the assessment of convergent validity and method specificity. Despite the fact that many recent studies have used multi-method measurement designs to study mediated effects, many of the approaches used to integrate multiple methods in the statistical analyses have significant theoretical and empirical limitations. The current research aims to address this issue by integrating modern methods of statistical mediation analysis with modern approaches of multitrait-multimethod (MTMM) methodology. In particular, we propose to 1) examine the relative statistical performance of approaches currently used by prevention scientists (Aim 1) and 2) develop and evaluate new multimethod mediation models with latent variables that properly account for the types of methods used in the study (Aim 2). In line with Eid et al. (2008), we distinguish between interchangeable and structurally different methods in this regard and propose to develop models for each type of method as well as the combination of both. Simulation studies will be used to evaluate the performance of the new models in absolute terms as well as in relation to other, already established approaches. Based on our findings from the simulation studies in Aim 1 and Aim 2, we will apply the best performing MM mediation models to real prevention datasets (Aim 3). Finally, the ultimate goal of this research is to disseminate knowledge to applied researchers about how to most appropriately analyze mediated effects in the context of a multimethod measurement design (Aim 4). The successful fulfillment of the aims proposed in this project will impact public health because it will help to clarify the meaning of mediating effects in prevention studies, which is a critical element in designing effective preventive interventions.

Public Health Relevance

Because the analysis of mediating mechanisms is critical to the development of preventive interventions, it is essential that methods to test mediation produce findings that are minimally biased. The results from the proposed study, along with the dissemination activities, will provide methods to improve the estimation of mediation results, thereby improving clinicians'capacity to design effective preventive interventions.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
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Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
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Jenkins, Richard A
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Utah State University
Schools of Education
United States
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Litson, Kaylee; Geiser, Christian; Burns, G Leonard et al. (2018) Trait and State Variance in Multi-Informant Assessments of ADHD and Academic Impairment in Spanish First-Grade Children. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol 47:699-712
Koch, Tobias; Schultze, Martin; Holtmann, Jana et al. (2017) A Multimethod Latent State-Trait Model for Structurally Different And Interchangeable Methods. Psychometrika 82:17-47
Preszler, Jonathan; Burns, G Leonard; Litson, Kaylee et al. (2017) Trait and state variance in oppositional defiant disorder symptoms: A multi-source investigation with Spanish children. Psychol Assess 29:135-147
Litson, Kaylee; Geiser, Christian; Burns, G Leonard et al. (2017) Examining Trait × Method Interactions Using Mixture Distribution Multitrait-Multimethod Models. Struct Equ Modeling 24:31-51
Preszler, Jonathan; Burns, G Leonard; Litson, Kaylee et al. (2017) How Consistent Is Sluggish Cognitive Tempo Across Occasions, Sources, and Settings? Evidence From Latent State-Trait Modeling. Assessment :1073191116686178
Geiser, Christian; Bishop, Jacob; Lockhart, Ginger (2015) Collapsing factors in multitrait-multimethod models: examining consequences of a mismatch between measurement design and model. Front Psychol 6:946
Geiser, Christian; Keller, Brian T; Lockhart, Ginger et al. (2015) Distinguishing state variability from trait change in longitudinal data: the role of measurement (non)invariance in latent state-trait analyses. Behav Res Methods 47:172-203
Bishop, Jacob; Geiser, Christian; Cole, David A (2015) Modeling latent growth with multiple indicators: a comparison of three approaches. Psychol Methods 20:43-62
Papa, Lesther A; Litson, Kaylee; Lockhart, Ginger et al. (2015) Analyzing Statistical Mediation with Multiple Informants: A New Approach with an Application in Clinical Psychology. Front Psychol 6:1674
Burns, G Leonard; Servera, Mateu; Bernad, Maria Del Mar et al. (2014) Ratings of ADHD symptoms and academic impairment by mothers, fathers, teachers, and aides: construct validity within and across settings as well as occasions. Psychol Assess 26:1247-58

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