'Generalizing the Regression Model: Techniques for Longitudinal and Contextual Analysis' - new book by Professor Blair Wheaton and Professor Marisa Young

February 2, 2021 by Jeremy Nichols


Professor Blair Wheaton and Professor Marisa Young’s newly published book, Generalizing the Regression Model: Techniques for Longitudinal and Contextual Analysis (2020, Sage Publishing) occupies a unique niche in the  huge literature on quantitative methods. It is written as a second course overview of the most prevalent techniques used in sociology and related disciplines. The intention is to provide readers, students, professionals, and researchers with four kinds of resources for further learning and application.

This book is imagined both as a text and a professional reference. As a text, the book is a bridge to actual research practice and self-reliant learning. The early sections introduce a series of variations on the usual additive multiple regression model, including multiplicative and conditional relationships, forms of nonlinearity, and models for categorical outcomes and rare events. In the second half, the book considers a series of elaborations of the basic model, including structural equation modeling, the hierarchical linear model, growth curve models, fixed effects panel regression, and event history models. Chapters introducing new techniques include discussion of published implementations of each technique showing how it is applied to address important or unusual substantive research questions.

This book also acts as a professional reference, in two respects. First, it can be used as a guidebook, giving step-by-step guidance on how to conduct an analysis or build the data necessary to use a technique. The emphasis is on how the methods involved can be implemented, using analytical examples based both on SAS and STATA, and on the interpretation of results in words.   The book also includes original material on essential topics intended to create a pathway through a series of complex decisions when applying a technique. Throughout the focus is on the correspondence between the way ideas are stated textually and their representation in models.

The book’s publisher provides the following description on their website:

This comprehensive text introduces regression, the general linear model, structural equation modeling, the hierarchical linear model, growth curve models, panel data, and event history models, and includes discussion of published implementations of each technique showing how it was used to address substantive and interesting research questions. It takes a step-by-step approach in the presentation of each topic, using mathematical derivations where necessary, but primarily emphasizing how the methods involved can be implemented, are used in addressing representative substantive problems than span a number of disciplines, and can be interpreted in words. The book demonstrates the analyses in STATA and SAS. Generalizing the Regression Model provides students with a bridge from the classroom to actual research practice and application.

Dr. Blair Wheaton is currently a Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1976, and taught at Yale University and McGill University before moving to the University of Toronto in 1989. He has taught graduate and undergraduate statistics courses for most of his career. He received the Leonard I. Pearlin Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Sociology of' Mental Health in 2000, the “Best Publication” Award from the Mental Health section of the American Sociological Association in 1996, and was elected to the Sociological Research Association in 2010. His research focuses on both the life course and social contextual approaches to understanding mental health over multiple life stages. Currently, he is following up a family study that included interviews of 9-16 year old children from 1993-1996 to investigate the long-term consequences of gendered attitudes and practices in childhood households on work, family, and health outcomes in adulthood.

Dr. Marisa Young is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at McMaster University and a Canada Research Chair in Mental Health and Work-Life Transitions. Her research investigates the intersection between work, family, and residential contexts to bring a greater understanding of social inequalities in mental health for parents and children over the life course. Her expertise in the current project comes from her research on community-based services for mental health and well-being. Dr. Young holds an Early Researcher Award from the province of Ontario which aids her research in this area, addressing disparities in mental health resources across geographical locations.

Marisa Young's website