Applied Research Topics | The Methodology Center

Applied Research Topics

LCA and LTA in Drug Abuse Research

LCA and LTA in Drug Abuse Use Research

The Methodology Center has contributed to important theoretical frameworks for the etiology of drug abuse. For example, we have proposed and applied a methodological framework based on latent class analysis (LCA) and its longitudinal extension, latent transition analysis (LTA), for testing the gateway hypothesis of drug use onset (Collins, 2002; Maldonado & Lanza, 2010). A major contribution to applied work on drug abuse is the identification of latent classes characterized by particular patterns of drug use; in other words, we use LCA as a measurement model for drug abuse behavior.



Coffman, D. L., Patrick, M. E., Palen, L., Rhoades, B. L., & Ventura, A. K. (2007). Why  do high school seniors drink? Implications for a targeted approach to intervention. Prevention Science, 8, 241-248.

Collins, L. M. (2002). Using latent transition analysis to examine the gateway hypothesis. Stages and pathways of drug involvement: Examining the gateway hypothesis (pp. 254-269). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

Lanza, S. T., & Bray, B. C. (2010). Transitions in drug use among high-risk women: An application of latent class and latent transition analysis. Advances and Applications in Statistical Sciences, 3, 203-235. PMCID: PMC3171700

Lanza, S. T., Patrick, M. E., & Maggs, J. L. (2010). Latent transition analysis: Benefits of a latent variable approach to modeling transitions in substance use. Journal of Drug Issues, 40(1), 93-120. PMCID: PMC2909684

Maldonado, M. M., & Lanza, S. T. (2010). A framework to examine gateway relations in drug use: An application of latent transition analysis. Journal of Drug Issues, 40, 901-924. PMCID: PMC3400537 

LCA and LTA in HIV Research

LCA and LTA in HIV Research

The Methodology Center has applied LCA and LTA to understand subgroups of people who are at risk for HIV infection. For example, we have examined sexual risk behavior among adolescents and adults (Lanza & Collins, 2008; Lanza, Kugler, & Mathur, 2011). We have also tested the role played by social networks in HIV risk among a high-risk population in Namibia (Smith & Lanza, 2011).




Lanza, S. T., & Collins, L. M. (2008). A new SAS procedure for latent transition analysis: Transitions in dating and sexual risk behavior. Developmental Psychology, 44(2), 446-456. PMCID: PMC2846549

Lanza, S. T, Kugler, K. C., & Mathur, C. (2011). Differential effects for sexual risk behavior: An application of finite mixture regression. The Open Family Studies Journal, 4, (Suppl. 1-M9), 81-88. PMCID: PMC3487167

Smith, R. A., & Lanza, S. T. (2011). Testing theoretical network classes and HIV-related correlates with latent class analysis. AIDS Care. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2011.555747. PMCID: PMC3181093


LCA and LTA in Intervention Research

The Methodology Center has applied LCA and LTA to evaluate the way interventions work differently for different subgroups of people.




LCA in Risk Factor Research

LCA in Risk Factors Research

The Methodology Center has applied LCA to model multiple risk factors to demonstrate the importance of taking a more holistic approach in order to draw prevention implications.




Lanza, S. T., Tan, X., & Bray, B. C. (2013). Latent class analysis with distal outcomes: A flexible model-based approach. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/10705511.2013.742377 PMC Journal- In Process

Lanza, S. T. & Rhoades, B. L. (2013). Latent class analysis: An alternative perspective on subgroup analysis in prevention and treatment. Prevention Science, 14, 157-168. PMCID: PMC3173585

Lanza, S. T., Rhoades, B. L., Greenberg, M. T., Cox, M. J., & The Family Life Project Key Investigators (2011). Modeling multiple risks during infancy: Contributions of a person-centered approach. Infant Behavior and Development, 34(3), 390-406. PMCID: PMC3134117 

Lanza, S. T., Rhoades, B. L., Nix, R. L., Greenberg, M. T., & the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group (2010). Modeling the interplay of multilevel risk factors for future academic and behavior problems: A person-centered approach. Development and Psychopathology, 22, 313-335. PMCID: PMC3005302

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