Linda Collins, Ph.D. | The Methodology Center

Linda Collins, Ph.D.

Linda Collins, Ph.D.Director, The Methodology Center

Distinguished Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies

Professor, Department of Statistics


The Methodology Center

The Pennsylvania State University

204 E. Calder Way, Suite 400

State College, PA 16801




LinkedIn profile




Ph.D., University of Southern California, 1983 (Quantitative Psychology)

B.A., University of Connecticut, 1977 (Psychology)



Research Interests & Collaborators

I am interested in most aspects of research methods. Lately I have been most interested in experimental and non-experimental design, particularly for building, optimizing and evaluating behavioral interventions. I also have a long-standing interest in models for longitudinal data, particularly latent transition analysis, and other latent class models. I am working on two related projects to bring ideas from engineering to bear on optimization of behavioral interventions. My collaborators on these projects are Daniel E. Rivera (Arizona State University), Runze Li, Inbal Nahum-Shani (University of Michigan), John Dziak, and Susan Murphy. I also collaborate frequently with Stephanie Lanza on research related to latent class and latent transition analysis.



Recent Honors 

2014: Named Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

2014: Elected as a Fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine

2014: Selected to give presentation at TEDxPSU

Recent Grants

Center for Prevention and Treatment Methodology

National Institute on Drug Abuse: P50 (Renewal)

2010-2015; Role: Principal Investigator


Engineering Effective Interventions for Tobacco Use: A Translational Laboratory 

National Cancer Institute: P01

2014-2019; Role: Principal Investigator of Core (Center Directors: Michael Fiore and Timothy Baker, University of Wisconsin)


Opt-In: Optimizing Intensive Intervention for Weight Loss

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: R01

2011-2016; Role: Co-PI with Bonnie Spring






Recent Publications

Collins, L. M., Dziak, J. D., Kugler, K. C., & Trail, J. B. (2014). Factorial experiments: Efficient tools for evaluation of intervention components. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 47, 498-504. 

Collins, L. M., Nahum-Shani, I., & Almirall, D. (2014). Optimization of behavioral dynamic treatment regimens based on the sequential, multiple assignment, randomized trial (SMART). Clinical Trials, 11. 426-434.  

Collins, L., Trail, J., Kugler, K., Baker, T., Piper, M., & Mermelstein, R. (2014). Evaluating individual intervention components: Making decisions based on the results of a factorial screening experiment. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 4, 238-251. 

Faggiano, F., Allara, E., Giannotta, F., Molinar, R., Sumnall, H., Wiers, R., Michie, S., Collins, L., & Conrod, P. (2014).  Europe needs a central, transparent, and evidence-based approval process for behavioural prevention interventions.  PLOS Medicine, 11(10), e1001740.

Pellegrini, C. A., Hoffman, S. A., Collins, L. M., & Spring, B. (2014). Optimization of remotely delivered intensive lifestyle treatment for obesity using the Multiphase Optimization Strategy: Opt-IN study protocol. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 38, 251-259.

Timms, K. P., Rivera, D. E., Collins, L. M., & Piper, M. E. (2014). Continuous-time system identification of a smoking cessation intervention. International Journal of Control, 87. 1423-1437

Timms, K. P., Rivera, D. E., Collins, L. M., & Piper, M. E. (2014).  A dynamical systems approach to understand self-regulation in smoking cessation behavior change. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 16, S159-S168. PMCID: PMC3977628

Wyrick, D. L., Rulison, K. L., Fearnow -Kenney, M., Milroy, J. J., & Collins, L. M. (2014). Moving beyond the treatment package approach to developing behavioral interventions: Addressing questions that arose during an application of the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST). Translational Behavioral Medicine, 4, 252-259

Collins, L. M. (2013).  Optimizing family interventions: The Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST).  In McHale, S. McHale, P. Amato, P., & A. Booth, A. (Eds.). Emerging methods in family research. New York: Springer.

Collins, L. M., MacKinnon, D. P., & Reeve, B. (2013). Commentary: Some methodological considerations in theory-based health behavior research.  Health Psychology32, 586-591. PMCID: PMC3832141

Lippold, M. A., Greenberg, M. T., & Collins, L. M. (2013).  Youths’ substance use and changes in parental knowledge-related behaviors during middle school: A person-oriented approach.  Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43, 729-744. PMCID: PMC3938985

Lippold, M. A., Greenberg, M. T., & Collins, L. M. (2013). Parental knowledge and youth risky behavior: A person oriented approach.  Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42. 1732-1744, PMCID: PMC3655137

Lanza, S. T., Bray, B. C., & Collins, L. M. (2013). An introduction to latent class and latent transition analysis. In J. A. Schinka, W. F. Velicer, & I. B. Weiner (Eds.), Handbook of psychology (2nd ed.,Vol. 2, pp. 691-716). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Trail, J. B., Collins, L. M., Rivera, D. E., Li, R., Piper, M., & Baker, T. (2013).  Functional data analysis for the system identification of behavioral processes.  Psychological Methods, 19,175-187. PMCID: PMC4098896

Timms, K. P., Rivera, D. E., Collins, L. M., & Piper, M. E. (2013).  Control systems engineering for understanding and optimizing smoking cessation interventions. Proceedings from the 2013 American Control Conference. 


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