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Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2006 Feb 21;4:10.

Using individual growth model to analyze the change in quality of life from adolescence to adulthood.

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Epidemiology of Mental Disorders, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.



The individual growth model is a relatively new statistical technique now widely used to examine the unique trajectories of individuals and groups in repeated measures data. This technique is increasingly used to analyze the changes over time in quality of life (QOL) data. This study examines the change from adolescence to adulthood in physical health as an aspect of QOL as an illustration of the use of this analytic method.


Employing data from the Children in the Community (CIC) study, a prospective longitudinal investigation, physical health was assessed at mean ages 16, 22, and 33 in 752 persons born between 1965 and 1975.


The analyses using individual growth models show a linear decline in average physical health from age 10 to age 40. Males reported better physical health and declined less per year on average. Time-varying psychiatric disorders accounted for 8.6% of the explained variation in mean physical health, and 6.7% of the explained variation in linear change in physical health. Those with such a disorder reported lower mean physical health and a more rapid decline with age than those without a current psychiatric disorder. The use of SAS PROC MIXED, including syntax and interpretation of output are provided. Applications of these models including statistical assumptions, centering issues and cohort effects are discussed.


This paper highlights the usefulness of the individual growth model in modeling longitudinal change in QOL variables.

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