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Integrating state dynamics and trait change: A tutorial using the example of stress reactivity and change in well-being

Annette Brose, Andreas Benjamin Neubauer, Florian Schmiedek
Published: 9 June 2021

Abstract: Recent theoretical accounts on the causes of trait change emphasize the potential relevance of states. In the same vein, reactions to daily stress have been shown to prospectively predict change in well-being, speaking for the proposition that state dynamics can be a precursor to long-term change in more stable individual-differences characteristics. A common analysis approach towards linking state dynamics such as stress reactivity and change in some more stable individual differences characteristic has been a two-step approach, modeling state dynamics and trait change separately. In this paper, we elaborate on one-step procedures to simultaneously model state dynamics and trait change, realized in the multilevel structural equation modeling framework. We highlight three distinct advantages over the two-step approach which pre-exists in the methodological literature, and we disseminate these advantages to a larger audience. We target a readership of substantive researchers interested in the relationships between state dynamics and traits or trait change, and we provide them with a tutorial style paper on state-of-the-art methods on these topics.
Keywords: state dynamics / trait change / multilevel structural equation modeling / stress reactivity / well-being

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