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Longitudinal Mixed Membership trajectory models for disability survey data

DOI: 10.1214/14-AOAS769

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We develop methods for analyzing discrete multivariate longitudinal data and apply them to functional disability data on the U.S. elderly population from the National Long Term Care Survey (NLTCS), 1982-2004. Our models build on a Mixed Membership framework, in which individuals are allowed multiple membership on a set of extreme profiles characterized by time-dependent trajectories of progression into disability. We also develop an extension that allows us to incorporate birth-cohort effects, in order to assess inter-generational changes. Applying these methods, we find that most individuals follow trajectories that imply a late onset of disability, and that younger cohorts tend to develop disabilities at a later stage in life compared to their elders.


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