Psychol Methods. 2023 Dec 14. doi: 10.1037/met0000635. Online ahead of print.
Repeated measure data design has been used extensively in a wide range of fields, such as brain aging or developmental psychology, to answer important research questions exploring relationships between trajectory of change and external variables. In many cases, such data may be collected from multiple study cohorts and harmonized, with the intention of gaining higher statistical power and enhanced external validity. When psychological constructs are measured using survey scales, a fundamental psychometric challenge for data harmonization is to create commensurate measures for the constructs of interest across studies. Traditional analysis may fit a unidimensional item response theory model to data from one time point and one cohort to obtain item parameters and fix the same parameters in subsequent analyses. Such a simplified approach ignores item residual dependencies in the repeated measure design on one hand, and on the other hand, it does not exploit accumulated information from different cohorts. Instead, two alternative approaches should serve such data designs much better: an integrative approach using multiple-group two-tier model via concurrent calibration, and if such calibration fails to converge, a Bayesian sequential calibration approach that uses informative priors on common items to establish the scale. Both approaches use a Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm that handles computational complexity well. Through a simulation study and an empirical study using Alzheimer’s diseases neuroimage initiative cognitive battery data (i.e., language and executive functioning), we conclude that latent change scores obtained from these two alternative approaches are more precisely recovered. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).