Regression mixture models: Does modeling the covariance between independent variables and latent classes improve the results?

A.E. Lamont, J.K. Vermunt, M.L. Van Horn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Regression mixture models are increasingly used as an exploratory approach to identify heterogeneity in the effects of a predictor on an outcome. In this simulation study, we tested the effects of violating an implicit assumption often made in these models; that is, independent variables in the model are not directly related to latent classes. Results indicate that the major risk of failing to model the relationship between predictor and latent class was an increase in the probability of selecting additional latent classes and biased class proportions. In addition, we tested whether regression mixture models can detect a piecewise relationship between a predictor and outcome. Results suggest that these models are able to detect piecewise relations but only when the relationship between the latent class and the predictor is included in model estimation. We illustrate the implications of making this assumption through a reanalysis of applied data examining heterogeneity in the effects of family resources on academic achievement. We compare previous results (which assumed no relation between independent variables and latent class) to the model where this assumption is lifted. Implications and analytic suggestions for conducting regression mixture based on these findings are noted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-52
JournalMultivariate Behavioral Research
Volume51
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Regression mixture models
  • finite mixture models
  • simulation
  • latent class regression
  • FINITE MIXTURE
  • FAMILY RESOURCES
  • SWITCHING REGRESSIONS
  • SEROTONERGIC GENES
  • HETEROGENEITY
  • DISTRIBUTIONS
  • OFFENDERS

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