Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Major Professor

Yangxin Huang

Co-Major Professor

Henian Chen


growth modeling, longitudinal data, psychological disorders, religion, self-esteem


Linear mixed-effects (LME) modeling is a widely used statistical method for analyzing repeated measures or longitudinal data. Such longitudinal studies typically aim to investigate and describe the trajectory of a desired outcome. Longitudinal data have the advantage over cross-sectional data by providing more accuracy for the model. LME models allow researchers to account for random variation among individuals and between individuals.

In this project, adolescent health was chosen as a topic of research due to the many changes that occur during this crucial time period as a precursor to overall well-being in adult life. Understanding the factors that influence how adolescents' mental well-being is affected may aid in interventions to reduce the risk of a negative impact. Self-esteem, in particular, has been associated with many components of physical and mental health and is a crucial focus in adolescent health. Research in self-esteem is extensive yet, sometimes inconclusive or contradictory since past research has been cross-sectional in nature. Several factors associated with self-esteem development are considered. Participation in religious services has also been an interest in research for its impact on depression. Depression development and its predictors are evaluated using LME models. Along with this line, this project will address the research problems identified through the following specific topics (i) to investigate the impact of early adolescent anxiety disorders on self-esteem development from adolescence to young adulthood; (ii) to study the role of maternal self-esteem and family socioeconomic status on adolescent self-esteem development through young adulthood; and (iii) to explore the efficacy of religious service attendance in reducing depressive symptoms. These topics present a good introduction to the LME approach and are of significant public health importance.

The present study explores varying scenarios of the statistical methods and techniques employed in the analysis of longitudinal data. This thesis provides an overview of LME models and the model selection process with applications. Although this project is motivated by adolescent health study, the basic concepts of the methods introduced have generally broader applications in other fields provided that the relevant technical specifications are met.

Included in

Biostatistics Commons