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Analytical strategies in human growth research

Johnson, W; (2015) Analytical strategies in human growth research. American Journal of Human Biology , 27 (1) 69 - 83. 10.1002/ajhb.22589. Green open access

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Human growth research requires knowledge of longitudinal statistical methods that can be analytically challenging. Even the assessment of growth between two ages is not as simple as subtracting the first measurement from the second, for example. This article provides an overview of the key analytical strategies available to human biologists in increasing order of complexity, starting with a review on how to express cross-sectional measurements of size, before covering growth (conditional regression models, regression with conditional growth measures), growth curves (individual growth curves, mixed effects growth curves, latent growth curves), and patterns of growth (growth mixture modeling). The article is not a statistical treatise and has been written by a human biologist for human biologists; as such, it should be accessible to anyone with training in at least basic statistics. A summary table linking each analytical strategy to its applications is provided to help investigators match their hypotheses and measurement schedules to an analysis plan. In addition, worked examples using data on non-Hispanic white participants in the Fels Longitudinal Study are used to illustrate how the analytical strategies might be applied to gain novel insight into human growth and its determinants and consequences. All too often, serial measurements are treated as cross-sectional in analyses that do not harness the power of longitudinal data. The broad goal of this article is to encourage the rigorous application of longitudinal statistical methods to human growth research.

Type: Article
Title: Analytical strategies in human growth research
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/ajhb.22589
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org10.1002/ajhb.22589
Additional information: © 2014 The Authors. American Journal of Human Biology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
UCL classification: UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1443302
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