Advanced categorical data analysis in prevention science


A variety of health and social problems are routinely measured in the form of categorical outcome data (such as presence/absence of a problem behavior or stages of disease progression). Therefore, proper quantitative analysis of categorical data lies at the heart of the empirical work conducted in prevention science. Categorical data analysis constitutes a broad dynamic field of methods research and data analysts in prevention science can benefit from incorporating recent advances and developments in the statistical evaluation of categorical outcomes in their methodological repertoire. The present Special Issue, Advanced Categorical Data Analysis in Prevention Science, highlights recent methods developments and illustrates their application in the context of prevention science. Contributions of the Special Issue cover a wide variety of areas ranging from statistical models for binary as well as multi-categorical data, advances in the statistical evaluation of moderation and mediation effects for categorical data, developments in model evaluation and measurement, as well as methods that integrate variable- and person-oriented categorical data analysis. The articles of this Special issue make methodological advances in these areas accessible to the audience of prevention scientists to maintain rigorous statistical practice and decision making. The current paper provides background and rationale for this Special Issue, an overview of the articles, and a brief discussion of some potential future directions for prevention research involving categorical data analysis.