Longitudinal Assessment Design and Statistical Power for Detecting an Intervention Impact

Hannos Petras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In evaluating randomized control trials (RCTs), statistical power analyses are necessary to choose a sample size which strikes the balance between an insufficient and an excessive design, with the latter leading to misspent resources. With the growing popularity of using longitudinal data to evaluate RCTs, statistical power calculations have become more complex. Specifically, with repeated measures, the number and frequency of measurements per person additionally influence statistical power by determining the precision with which intra-individual change can be measured as well as the reliability with which inter-individual differences in change can be assessed. The application of growth mixture models has shown that the impact of universal interventions is often concentrated among a small group of individuals at the highest level of risk. General sample size calculations were consequently not sufficient to determine whether statistical power is adequate to detect the desired effect. Currently, little guidance exists to recommend a sufficient assessment design to evaluating intervention impact. To this end, Monte Carlo simulations are conducted to assess the statistical power and precision when manipulating study duration and assessment frequency. Estimates were extracted from a published evaluation of the proximal of the Good Behavior Game (GBG) on the developmental course of aggressive behavior. Results indicated that the number of time points and the frequency of assessments influence statistical power and precision. Recommendations for the assessment design of longitudinal studies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPrevention Science
StateAccepted/In press - Apr 22 2016


  • Assessment design
  • General growth mixture modeling
  • Intervention impact
  • Statistical power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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