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Application of Person‐Centered Analytic Methodology in Longitudinal Research: Exemplars From the Women's Health Initiative Clinical Trial Data

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Despite the variety of available analytic methods, longitudinal research in nursing has been dominated by use of a variable-centered analytic approach. The purpose of this article is to present the utility of person-centered methodology using a large cohort of American women 65 and older enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative Clinical Trial (N = 19,891). Four distinct trajectories of energy/fatigue scores were identified. Levels of fatigue were closely linked to age, socio-demographic factors, comorbidities, health behaviors, and poor sleep quality. These findings were consistent regardless of the methodological framework. Finally, we demonstrated that energy/fatigue levels predicted future hospitalization in non-disabled elderly. Person-centered methods provide unique opportunities to explore and statistically model the effects of longitudinal heterogeneity within a population.

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