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Psychother Res. 2017 Jul;27(4):425-436. doi: 10.1080/10503307.2015.1114688. Epub 2015 Dec 19.

Partially nested designs in psychotherapy trials: A review of modeling developments.

Author information

1
a Department of Psychology and Human Development , Vanderbilt University , Nashville , TN , USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Individually-randomized psychotherapy trials are often partially nested. For instance, individuals assigned to a treatment arm may be clustered into therapy groups for purposes of treatment administration, whereas individuals assigned to a wait-list control are unclustered. The past several years have seen rapid expansion and investigation of methods for analyzing partially nested data. Yet partial nesting often remains ignored in psychotherapy trials.

METHODS:

This review integrates and disseminates developments in the analysis of partially nested data that are particularly relevant for psychotherapy researchers.

RESULTS:

First, we differentiate among alternative partially nested designs. Then, we present adaptations of multilevel model specifications that accommodate each design. Next, we address how moderation by treatment as well as mediation of the treatment effect can be investigated in partially nested designs. Model fitting results, annotated software syntax, and illustrative data sets are provided and key methodological issues are discussed.

CONCLUSIONS:

We emphasize that cluster-level variability in the treatment arm need not be considered a nuisance; it can be modeled to yield insights about the treatment process.

KEYWORDS:

group therapy; individually-randomized psychotherapy trials; multilevel modeling; partial clustering; partial nesting

PMID:
26686878
DOI:
10.1080/10503307.2015.1114688
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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