On the trajectories of the predetermined alt model: What are we really modeling?

Joran Jongerling*, Ellen L. Hamaker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This article shows that the mean and covariance structure of the predetermined autoregressive latent trajectory (ALT) model are very flexible. As a result, the shape of the modeled growth curve can be quite different from what one might expect at first glance. This is illustrated with several numerical examples that show that, for example, a linear trajectory might be present among the model predicted scores even though no latent change parameter was included in the model. In addition, 2 examples are given that show that the predetermined ALT model can fit to data generated by models with model structures that are rather different from that of the ALT model itself. The practical relevance of these findings is demonstrated using an empirical example. We end by providing recommendations for researchers considering the use of the predetermined ALT model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-382
Number of pages13
JournalStructural Equation Modeling
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • ALT model
  • Autoregression
  • Growth curve
  • Growth trajectory
  • Latent growth curve model
  • Simplex model


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