Advancing Occupational Stress and Health Research and Interventions Using Latent Difference Score Modeling

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Occupational stress theories are rooted in the dynamic nature of the stress process, but few researchers examine intraindividual changes in the stress and well-being process. Analyses of intraindividual change over time enable researchers to evaluate theoretical propositions and build models that may be misspecified by cross-sectional data. We introduce a longitudinal data analysis method that can be used to advance stress theories and more accurately evaluate current organizational interventions. Specifically, latent difference score (LDS; J. J. McArdle, 2001, A latent difference score approach to longitudinal dynamic structural analysis. In R. Cudek, S. DuToit, & D. Sörbom, Eds., Structural equation modeling: Present and future, pp. 342–380, Lincolnwood, IL: Scientific Software International) modeling has recently emerged as a versatile tool for investigating intraindividual change in measured variables in clinical and developmental research (C. D. Kouros & E. M. Cummings, 2010, Longitudinal associations between husbands’ and wives’ depressive symptoms, Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 72, pp. 135–147; I. Schindler, U. M. Staudinger, & J. R. Nesselroade, 2006, Development and structural dynamics of personal life investment in old age, Psychology and Aging, Vol. 21, pp. 737–753). Organizational or occupational health researchers, however, have yet to take advantage of the LDS approach. We discuss potential implications for the LDS approach in evaluating organizational interventions and stress theories and provide a didactic illustration of LDS modeling using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.



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