Hierarchical Bayesian continuous time dynamic modeling.

Continuous time dynamic models are similar to popular discrete time models such as autoregressive cross-lagged models, but through use of stochastic differential equations can accurately account for differences in time intervals between measurements, and more parsimoniously specify complex dynamics. As such they offer powerful and flexible approaches to understand ongoing psychological processes and interventions, and allow for measurements to be taken a variable number of times, and at irregular intervals. However, limited developments have taken place regarding the use of continuous time models in a fully hierarchical context, in which all model parameters are allowed to vary over individuals. This has meant that questions regarding individual differences in parameters have had to rely on single-subject time series approaches, which require far more measurement occasions per individual. We present a hierarchical Bayesian approach to estimating continuous time dynamic models, allowing for individual variation in all model parameters. We also describe an extension to the ctsem package for R, which interfaces to the Stan software and allows simple specification and fitting of such models. To demonstrate the approach, we use a subsample from the German socioeconomic panel and relate overall life satisfaction and satisfaction with health. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)