A Moderated Nonlinear Factor Model for the Development of Commensurate Measures in Integrative Data Analysis

Patrick J. Curran, James S. McGinley, Daniel J. Bauer, Andrea M. Hussong, Alison Burns, Laurie Chassin, Kenneth Sher, Robert Zucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Integrative data analysis (IDA) is a methodological framework that allows for the fitting of models to data that have been pooled across 2 or more independent sources. IDA offers many potential advantages including increased statistical power, greater subject heterogeneity, higher observed frequencies of low base-rate behaviors, and longer developmental periods of study. However, a core challenge is the estimation of valid and reliable psychometric scores that are based on potentially different items with different response options drawn from different studies. In Bauer and Hussong (2009) we proposed a method for obtaining scores within an IDA called moderated nonlinear factor analysis (MNLFA). Here we move significantly beyond this work in the development of a general framework for estimating MNLFA models and obtaining scale scores across a variety of settings. We propose a 5-step procedure and demonstrate this approach using data drawn from n = 1,972 individuals ranging in age from 11 to 34 years pooled across 3 independent studies to examine the factor structure of 17 binary items assessing depressive symptomatology. We offer substantive conclusions about the factor structure of depression, use this structure to compute individual-specific scale scores, and make recommendations for the use of these methods in practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-231
Number of pages18
JournalMultivariate Behavioral Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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