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The mission of The Methodology Center is to advance public health by improving experimental design and data analysis in the social, behavioral, and health sciences. 

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Susan Murphy, 2013 MacArthur Fellow

Susan Murphy 2013 MacArthur Fellow


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Recent News

Donna Coffman

April 3, 2014

When parents know more about their teenage children’s activities, those children are less likely to engage in risky behavior (e.g., delinquency, substance use initiation). Though this connection is widely acknowledged, it is not clear whether the knowledge is the determining factor in the reduced risk, because many other factors are involved in the parent-child relationship. In a recent article in Prevention Science, the authors use propensity scores to examine the causal nature of this relationship. The research team includes former Penn State graduate student Melissa Lippold, Methodology Center Principal Investigator Donna Coffman, and Edna Peterson Bennett Endowed Chair in Prevention Research Mark Greenberg. 

LCA Stata Plugin

April 2, 2014

The Methodology Center is pleased to release the latest version (1.1) of the LCA Stata plugin for conducting latent class analysis (LCA). The software is available for download free of charge. For an overview of the functionality of the LCA Stata plugin, please visit the download page. The new version includes functionality requested in our recent software survey, including

  • the ability to assess identification of models with covariates via multiple random starts,
  • an indication of which latent class is the best match for each individual, and
  • the option to generate 20 random draws for each individual’s class membership based on posterior probabilities.

The users’ guide has also been updated and revised based on user feedback. Please email mchelpdesk@psu.edu with any questions.

 

Read more or download the software

Daniel Almirall and Billie Nahum-Shani

March 24, 2014

The application deadline for this year's Summer Institute on Innovative Methods, "Experimental Design and Analysis Methods for Developing Adaptive Interventions: Getting SMART" has been extended by one week. The new deadline is Monday, April 7.  

  

The institute will be presented by Daniel Almirall and Inbal Nahum-Shani, Methodology Center researchers at the University of Michigan. 

The workshop will focus on the sequential, multiple assignment, randomized trial (SMART) and its application for developing interventions that adapt to patient need. A limited number of scholarships are available.

  

The institute will be held June 19-20, 2014, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.    

  

Read more or apply.

Constantino LagoaMarch 5, 2014

In control engineering, devices continually monitor the performance of a system and then operate to control that system. Common examples include automobile thermostats and autopilot systems on commercial airliners. These same principles can be used to design behavioral interventions that adapt over time to help patients alter behaviors that affect their health. Potential applications include maintaining an exercise regimen, maintaining a healthy diet, or abstaining from tobacco or illicit drug use.

 

In a forthcoming article in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Methodology Center Investigators Constantino Lagoa, Stephanie Lanza, Susan Murphy, and their colleague Korkut Bekiroglu describe this new approach to building adaptive, intensive interventions. The authors show how data, in this case simulated smoking-cessation data, can be used to inform the design of an adaptive, intensive intervention by applying control-engineering techniques. This intervention, which is designed to provide treatment only when needed, is shown to improve effectiveness while decreasing patient burden. This approach holds great promise for informing clinical decisions and for informing the development of smartphone-based adaptive interventions. 


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