Investigating Individual Variation Using Dynamic Structural Equation Modeling: A Tutorial With Tinnitus

Thomas L. Rodebaugh, Marilyn L. Piccirillo, Madelyn R. Frumkin, Dorina Kallogjeri, Katherine M. Gerull, Jay F. Piccirillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A growing body of research suggests that standard group-based models might provide little insight regarding individuals. In the current study, we sought to compare group-based and individual predictors of bothersome tinnitus, illustrating how researchers can use dynamic structural equation modeling (DSEM) for intensive longitudinal data to examine whether findings from analyses of the group apply to individuals. A total of 43 subjects with bothersome tinnitus responded to up to 200 surveys each. In multilevel DSEM, survey items loaded on three factors (tinnitus bother, cognitive symptoms, and anxiety), and results indicated a reciprocal relationship between tinnitus bother and anxiety. In fully idiographic models, the three-factor model fit poorly for two individuals, and the multilevel model did not generalize to most individuals, possibly because of limited power. Research examining heterogeneous conditions, such as tinnitus bother, may benefit from methods such as DSEM that allow researchers to model dynamic relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574-591
Number of pages18
JournalClinical Psychological Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2023


  • idiographic models
  • intensive longitudinal data
  • multilevel analyses
  • tinnitus


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