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Methods for Analysis of Longitudinal Dyadic Data

with Applications to Intergenerational Exchanges of Family Support

This webpage provides information about the research project “Methods for the Analysis of Longitudinal Dyadic Data, with Applications to Intergenerational Exchanges of Family Support”. Resources such as documented software code will be uploaded when available.The project team includes social statisticians from the Department of Statistics at LSE, and social scientists from the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at LSE and the Institute for Economic and Social Research (ISER) at the University of Essex. The three-year project began in October 2017. It is co-funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Background

Data on pairs of subjects (dyads) are commonly collected in social research. In family research, for example, there is interest in the extent of agreement in family members' perceptions of relationship quality or how the strength of parent-child relationships depends on characteristics of parents and children. In organisational research, cooperation between coworkers may depend on factors relating to their relative roles and company ethos. Dyadic data provide detailed information on interpersonal processes, but they are challenging to analyse because of their highly complex structure: they are often longitudinal because of interest in dependencies between individuals over time, dyads may be clustered into larger groups (e.g. in families or organisations), and variables of interest such as perceptions and attitudes may be measured by multiple indicators. 

Project overview

Methodology

The principal aim of the project is to develop methods for the analysis of clustered multivariate dyadic data, with applications to the study of exchanges of support between non-coresident family members. The research will involve the development of a general multilevel latent variable modelling framework for the joint analysis of support between survey respondents and their non-coresident parents and adult children over time.  This framework will: (a) Incorporate measurement models relating binary indicators of assistance given and received to underlying latent variables representing tendency to give and receive help, allowing for zero inflation due to a high proportion of respondents who do not give or receive any support; (b) Allow modelling of associations between an individual's exchanges over time, between help given and received (reciprocity), between exchanges of time and money, between respondent-child and respondent-parent exchanges, and between members of the same household; (c) Allow mixtures of continuous and categorical variables to be incorporated.The research will also consider sensitivity of results to measurement error and departures from the standard missing-at-random assumption.

Applications and data sources

The methodological research will be motivated primarily by questions about the extent and nature of exchanges of support between parents and their adult children, using five waves of data from the ‘family network’ module of the British Household Panel Study (BHPS) and its successor Understanding Society (or the UK Household Longitudinal Study, UKHLS). Similar data have been collected in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE).In a second application, the same methods will be applied (and extended) to study cooperation between pairs of family members using longitudinal data from the Canadian Kids, Families & Places Study (KFPS) on mother-father, parent-child and sibling dyads. These data have a ‘round robin’ design that allows identification of ‘actor’, ‘partner’, dyad and family effects, as in the classic social relations model (Snijders and Kenny, 1999, 'Personal Relationships'). This research will be in collaboration with Professor Jennifer Jenkins from the University of Toronto. 

Research

Objectives

New methods will be developed for the analysis of longitudinal multivariate dyadic data, with applications to the study of exchanges of time and money between non-coresident family members. 

The objectives of the research are to:

1. Develop a general multilevel multivariate latent variable modelling framework for the joint analysis of exchanges of support between respondents and their non-coresident parents and adult children over time. This framework will:
a. Incorporate measurement models relating binary indicators of assistance given and received to underlying variables representing tendency to give and receive help; with extension to a zero-inflated model to allow for the high proportion of respondents who do not give or receive any support.
b. Allow investigation of the effects of changes in respondent circumstances over time on giving and receiving support.
c. Allow estimation of associations between an individual's exchanges over time, between help given and received (reciprocity), between exchanges of time and money, between respondent-child and respondent-parent exchanges, and between members of the same household.

2. Extend the modelling framework to incorporate mixtures of continuous and categorical variables, with an application to exchanges of financial and 'in kind' support.

3. Develop a model for the covariance between support given and support received (cross-sectionally and over time) to study heterogeneity in reciprocity of exchanges.

4. Consider sensitivity of results to departures from the standard missing-at-random assumption by considering models that allow for non-random attrition.

5. Investigate potential measurement bias due to having reports of giving and receiving support from only one member of each dyad (the survey respondent), and use of constrained estimation approaches for bias adjustment.

6. Develop efficient methods for model estimation, and make methods accessible to other researchers via R routines with on-line documentation.

Substantive research questions

The methodological research is motivated by questions about exchanges of support between parents and their adult children. These questions include: (a) What factors are associated with giving and receiving support for respondent-parent and respondent-adult offspring dyads? Is the giving and receipt of help persistent over time for a given dyad?; (b) What is the level and nature of reciprocity of exchanges?; (c) For respondents with non-coresident parents and adult offspring, are norms of reciprocity strained where there are competing demands on respondents' time and resources?; (d) Are financial transfers and 'in kind' transfers (i.e. spending time to help someone) complementary and to what extent do they appear to be substitutes? How does this depend on the socio-economic circumstances of the donor?

Work packages

The research is organised into five work packages:

WP1: Core methodological developments and model estimation. Development and testing of the general latent variable modelling framework and estimation.

WP2: Methods for mixed response types. Extensions to the framework developed in WP1 for mixtures of continuous and categorical variables, where a subset of these may depend on latent variables. In the application to exchanges of support, a distinction will be made between financial and ‘in kind’ support with categorical indicators of financial transfers collected annually. These indicators may define another set of latent variables, leading to extensions to both the measurement and structural models, or the structural model alone could be extended to include a mix of latent and manifest variables as responses. 

WP3: Data quality and measurement issues. This work package has two strands:

(a) Missing data. Missing data on intergenerational exchanges may arise when a parent dies or becomes coresident with the respondent. Both could lead to a not-missing-at-random (NMAR) situation if parents most in need of care have an increased mortality risk or are more likely to move in with a child. Sensitivity of results to departures from the standard missing-at-random (MAR) assumption will be considered.

(b) Reporting bias. A limitation of data on exchanges of support with a non-coresident relative is that information is collected only from one member of each dyad (the survey respondent). Methods will be devised to test for and adjust for measurement bias in reporting of help given and received.

WP4: Modeling covariances as functions of covariates. Of particular interest is the extent of reciprocity of support between parents and their adult children, and how this depends on individual characteristics.  Reciprocity will be measured by the covariance between latent variables for tendency to give/receive support, which will modelled as a function of covariates. 

WP5: Applications to the study of intergenerational exchanges. The methods of WP1-WP4 will be applied to investigate the substantive research questions outlined above.

People

Fiona2

Principal Investigator - Department of Statistics, LSE

Professor Fiona Steele - Professor of Statistics

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Jouni_Kuha 2021_2

Co-investigator - Department of Statistics, LSE

Professor Jouni Kuha - Professor of Statistics and Research Methodology

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Prof Irini Moustaki200x200

Co-investigator - Department of Statistics, LSE

Professor Irini Moustaki - Professor of Statistics

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Prof Chris Skinner200x200

Co-investigator - Department of Statistics, LSE

Professor Chris Skinner - Professor of Statistics

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BurchardtTania

Co-investigator - Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE), LSE

Dr Tania Burchardt - Director of CASE and Associate Professor, Department of Social Policy

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Eleni_Karagiannaki

Co-investigator - Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE), LSE

Dr Eleni Karagiannaki - Assistant Professorial Research Fellow 

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grundy

Co-investigator - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER), University of Essex 

Professor Emily Grundy - Professor of Population Science 

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headshot-shadow-woman2-lg

Post-doctoral research fellow - University of Liverpool

Dr Nina Zhang - Post-doctoral research fellow

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Elena Erosheva

International collaborator - University of Washington 

Professor Elena Erosheva - Professor of Statistics and Social Work

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jenkins1

International collaborator - University of Toronto 

Professor Jennifer Jenkins - Chair of Early Child Development and Education

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rabe-hesketh_squareA

International collaborator - University of California, Berkeley 

Professor Sophia Rabe-Hesketh - Professor of Educational Statistics and Biostatistics

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anders3

International collaborator - Adjunct Professor of Psychometrics, University of Oslo  

Professor Anders Skrondal - Senior Scientist, Norwegian Institute of Public Health

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Publications and presentations

Publications

Title:
Burchardt T, Steele F, Grundy E, Karagiannaki E, Kuha J, Moustaki I, Skinner C, Zhang N and Zhang S. Welfare within Families beyond Households: Intergenerational Exchanges of Practical and Financial Support in the UK. LSE Public Policy Review. 2021; 2(1): 4, pp. 1–11. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31389/lseppr.41

Abstract:
Families extend well beyond households. In particular, connections between parents and their adult offspring are often close and sustained, and transfers may include financial assistance, practical support, or both, provided by either generation to the other. Yet this major engine of welfare production, distribution, and redistribution has only recently become the focus of research. Who are the beneficiaries and to what extent are the patterns of exchange socially stratified? This article discusses findings from a programme of research analysing data from two nationally representative longitudinal studies, the British Household Panel Study and its successor Understanding Society, which record help given by, and received by, respondents through exchanges with their non-coresident parents and offspring in the UK. Some families exhibit a high tendency to provide mutual support between generations; these tendencies persist over time. Financial and practical support are generally complementary rather than substitutes. Longer travel time between parents and their offspring makes the provision of practical help less likely, whilst social class, social mobility, and ethnicity exhibit complex patterns of association with intergenerational exchanges. The resulting conclusion is that exchanges within families are an important complement to formal welfare institutions in the UK and that social policies should be designed to work with the grain of existing patterns of exchange, enabling family members to continue to provide help to one another, but ensuring that those who are less well supported by intergenerational assistance can access effective social protection.

Title:
Skinner, Chris J. and Steele, Fiona (2020) Estimation of dyadic characteristics of family networks using sample survey data. Annals of Applied Statistics, 14 (2). pp. 706-726. ISSN 1932-6157, http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/102338/

Abstract:
We consider the use of sample survey data to estimate dyadic characteristics of family networks, with an application to non-coresident parent-child dyads. We suppose that survey respondents report either from a parent or child perspective about a dyad, depending on their membership of the dyad. We construct separate estimators of com- mon dyadic characteristics using data from both a parent and a child perspective and show how comparisons of these estimators can shed light on data quality issues including differential missingness and re- porting error. In our application we find that a simple missingness model explains some striking patterns of discrepancies between the estimators and consider the use of poststratification and a related re- definition of count variables to adjust for these discrepancies. We also develop approaches to combining the separate estimators efficiently to estimate means and frequency distributions within subpopulations.

Title:
Steele, Fiona and Grundy, Emily (2020) Random effects dynamic panel models for unequally-spaced multivariate categorical repeated measures: an application to child-parent exchanges of support. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series C: Applied Statistics. ISSN 0964-1998 (In Press) http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/106255/

Abstract:
Exchanges of practical or financial help between people living in different households are a major component of intergenerational exchanges within families and an increasingly important source of support for individuals in need. Using longitudinal data, bivariate dynamic panel models can be applied to study the effects of changes in individual circumstances on help given to and received from non-coresident parents and the reciprocity of exchanges. However, the use of a rotating module for collection of data on exchanges leads to data where the response measurements are unequally spaced and taken less frequently than for the time-varying covariates. Existing approaches to this problem focus on fixed effects linear models for univariate continuous responses. We propose a random effects estimator for a family of dynamic panel models that can handle continuous, binary or ordinal multivariate responses. The performance of the estimator is assessed in a simulation study. A bivariate probit dynamic panel model is then applied to estimate the effects of partnership and employment transitions in the previous year and the presence and age of children in the current year on an individual’s propensity to give or receive help. Annual data on respondents’ partnership and employment status and dependent children and data on exchanges of help collected at 2- and 5-year intervals are used. 

Presentations

 

Tania Burchardt “Intergenerational exchanges of practical and financial support within families across households”, Beveridge 2.0 Reciprocity Across the Life-cycle, STICERD, LSE, 23 February 2021. https://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/research/beveridge/reciprocity-symposium.asp

Irini Moustaki “Modelling intergenerational exchanges using models for multivariate longitudinal data with latent variables in the presence of zero excess”, City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center, 1 April 2019.

Irini Moustaki “Modelling intergenerational exchanges using models for multivariate longitudinal data with latent variables in the presence of zero excess”, Center for Practice and Research at the Intersection of Information, Society and Methodology (PRIISM), NYU Steinhardt, 17 April 2019.

Jouni Kuha “Latent variables models for intergenerational exchanges of family support”, International Meeting of the Psychometric Society, Santiago (Chile), 15-19 July 2109.

Irini Moustaki “multivariate longitudinal data with zero inflation: a study of intergenerational exchanges”, International Meeting of the Psychometric Society, Santiago (Chile), 15-19 July 2019.

Fiona Steele “Dynamic models for longitudinal multivariate data with responses measured at unequal intervals”, Statistical Analysis of Multi-Outcome Data, University of Manchester, 6-7 June 2019 (keynote).

Fiona Steele “Random effects dynamic panel models for unequally-spaced outcomes”, Understanding Society Scientific Conference, University of Essex, 3 July 2019.

Fiona Steele “Random effects dynamic panel models for unequally-spaced outcomes”, International Workshop on Statistical Modeling, Guimarães, Portugal, 8-12 July 2019.

Fiona Steele “Random effects dynamic panel models for unequally-spaced outcomes”, 12th International Conference of the ERCIM Working Group on Computational and Methodological Statistics, University of London, 14-16 December 2019 (invited presentation).

Software

Software and syntax will be uploaded, together with documentation, when available.