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1) Is it possible to estimate LCA with a distal outcome in a single step in Mplus(along the same lines one does with LCGA or GGMM)? (Are there examples of this anywhere?) 2) Would I obtain the same results if I used a twostep procedure whereby, first, I estimated conditional latent classes with covariates (while also identifying my distal outcomes using the "auxillary" command), export this to another statistical package like Stata, and second, run regular regressions of my distal outcomes on class probabilities in Stata? Much thanks for any information! 


1. Yes. It would be like Example 8.6 but with an LCA model instead of a GMM model. 2. It is always preferable to do the entire model estimation in one step. Doing it in two steps would introduce estimation errors and the standard errors will be incorrect. 


Thank you, Linda. Are there any references you would recommend for me to read more about this type of estimation error? Thanks! 


I don't know of any specific reference. Perhaps you could find something in a general statistical text. 


I am running a LCA with several covariates and distal outcomes. I would like to control for the distal outcome scores in the fall so I have specified "outcome on fallscore" in my overall model. Because of this, I get intercepts for my distal outcomes instead of means. I have two questions: 1) What is the best way to request the class means for the outcomes? Tech7? 2) What is the best way to compare my 3 classes on the distal outcomes? I have used MODEL TEST but isn't that comparing the class intercepts and not the means in my particular model? Thank you in advance for your time! 


1. TECH7 is sample statistics. TECH4 and the RESIDUAL option of the OUTPUT command give model estimated values. 2. You would need to define the means in terms of the model parameters using new parameters in MODEL CONSTRAINT where you can also test the differences. 

Keri Jowers posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2011  12:08 pm



Hi, I'm aiming to use LCA to predict both categorical and continuous distal outcomes. From what I see in Example 8.6, it seems like the current recommendation is to basically do the equivalent of including it as a covariate (c on x). Is that the correct interpretation? If so, when I do that, the size of my 3 class shift more than I'd expect or like for them to (even when I've specified the stat values for each of the latent class indicators. My understanding is that this indicates that the model may be unstable or not replicable, and that the number of classes may not be correct. The 2 and 3class models have very similar fit indices: 2class (79.14%, 20.86%): AIC = 4431.098 BIC = 4498.885 SSABIC = 4451.258 LMRadj LRT p = .0007 BLRT p = .0000 entropy = .789 3class (47.31%, 31.33%, 21.36%): AIC = 4400.205 BIC = 4504.146 SSABIC = 4431.146 LMRadj LRT p = .0378 BLRT p = .0000 entropy = .720 The 3class model is a better fit theoretically/substantively. What, then, is the best way to estimate the association between the latent classes and the distal outcome? Can I trust the results I get when the classes are shifting? Thanks so much in advance for your input! 


In ex 8.6 the distal outcome is u, not x. 

Keri Jowers posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2011  10:43 am



Apologies  I mistyped. So, in ex 8.6, the distal is mentioned only in the "categorical = u" statement. How would one estimate the association between the latent classes and a continuous distal? 


The key is that u is on the NAMES list so it is an analysis variable. In the case where all variables on the NAMES list are not analysis variables, u would have been on the USEVARIABLES list. The same holds for a continuous distal outcome. It needs only to be on NAMES or NAMES and USEVARIABLES. 

Keri Jowers posted on Thursday, September 22, 2011  11:49 am



Right, I've got the NAMES and USEVARIABLES piece. Perhaps a better way of posing my question is this: When the continuous distal is in the USEVARIABLES list and I then set the start values for my LC indicators (not the u) using my previously obtained thresholds to try to preserve my classes, the output provides me with classspecific means for the distal, and these are based on the reestimated model I mentioned above. Are these means and their associated pvalues intended to be interpreted as the association between the latent class and the distal? This seems counterintuitive to me. 


The relationship between the categorical latent variable and the distal is found in the varying of the means of the distal across classes. The question you want to ask is if these means are the same across classes or different. You can use MODEL TEST to answer this question. 

Keri Jowers posted on Friday, September 23, 2011  8:07 am



Thanks so much! One final question  how concerned should I be that the class sizes change drastically when compared to when the distal is not included in the USEVAR statement? Not only are the class proportions very different (below), but the sample proportions within each class are very different: without distal in USEVAR: 47.3% 31.3% 21.4% with distal in USEVAR: 76.8% 16.9% 6.3% 


When you add a distal outcome, it is the same as adding another latent class indicator. The classes will be affected by this. This means that the distal is being taken into account which it should be. 


We have estimated a sixclass solution in LPA and are interested in using the LPA class membership (which was estimated at Time 1) to predict a distal outcome (at Time 2) while controlling for various attributes at Time 1. I recently attended a conference and heard a presentation that discussed "distalasconsequence" where class membership is treated as missing data in the regression of the distal outcome on class membership and multiple imputations are used based on the posterior class probabilities (obtained from the estimated growth mixture model without the distal outcome included) to estimate the association between class membership and distal outcomes. I have searched the Mplus archive and reviewed papers posted as well as the manual for more information/examples on this. Thus far, I have not found any. Any suggestions? Thank you. 


Section 4 of this paper on our web site discusses plausible values for latent class variables obtained by multiple imputation and how those plausible values can be used: Asparouhov, T. & Muthén, B. (2010). Plausible values for latent variables using Mplus. Technical Report. 

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