New Grant: Family Emotional Climate and Adolescent Problem Behavior

February 9, 2016:

Methodology Center Investigator Michael Russell and his Co-PI Dallas Swendeman of UCLA recently received a grant from the Jacobs Foundation to study fight1the relationship between family climate and problem behavior in adolescents. The investigators will collect ecological momentary assessments (EMA) and audio sensor data from cell phones while safeguarding participants’ privacy. They will measure the emotional climate in homes with adolescents by capturing voice characteristics such as pitch and volume. These measurements will be compared to self-reports of household conflict with the goal of creating in-the-moment interventions triggered by audio monitoring.

Michael is excited about the unique way this project will explore family interactions. “Traditionally, things like family conflict and expressed hostility can only be measured through interviews or questionnaires after the fact,” he said. “But the audio-sensing app will allow us to identify conflict, hostility, and supportive interactions as they occur in real time.” Michael added that this information could eventually lead to the development of brief, smartphone-based interventions that help families manage conflict in the moment.

The investigators will recruit 50 homes with adolescents for the study, with half of the adolescents having a history of substance use. Participants will complete EMA four times per day for two weeks, and audio of family interactions will be monitored continuously during this time. The investigators will use time-varying effect modeling and multilevel modeling to examine the relationship between emotional climate and youth behavior.

Major Revision of SAS TVEM Macro for Intensive Longitudinal Data

October 14, 2015:image of sample TVEM plot

The latest version of the TVEM (time-varying effect modeling) SAS macro (v. 3.1.0) offers several improvements over the previous version (v 2.1.1). Three macros from the previous suite have been consolidated into a single macro with simplified syntax for ease of use. Also, the new macro has the ability to model within-subject correlation using random effects or a robust sandwich variance estimator. Other improvements have been made to the onscreen output, the ability to generate output datasets, and the ability to generate plots in different ways.

TVEM allows researchers to answer new questions using intensive longitudinal data and mature panel studies, as well as answer questions about age-varying effects using less intensive data.

Traditional analytic methods assume that covariates have constant effects on a time-varying outcome. The TVEM SAS macro allows the effects of covariates to vary with time. The macro enables researchers to answer new research questions about how relationships change over time. The new version of the macro does not currently include accommodate zero-inflated Poisson (ZIP) outcomes. The previous version (2.1.1) of the %TVEM ZIP macro is still available.

Download the macro or read more.