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Intersecting Advanced Quantitative Designs with Mixed Methods Research: A Case for Integrating Latent Transition Analysis

Kirstie L Bash, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Given the growing popularity of mixed methods research, the use of rigorous quantitative and qualitative methods is paramount to producing valid, high quality studies across disciplines. It is often the case, however, that mixed methods studies rely on simpler quantitative methods, which leads to less complex research questions and limited inferences. By integrating advanced quantitative methods with rigorous qualitative methods, we can develop a deeper, richer, and more comprehensive understanding of studied phenomena. This retrospective longitudinal concurrent mixed methods study demonstrates the integration of latent transition analysis and qualitative case study within the equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) context. This study provides recommendations on the integration process and adds to our understanding of EAP literature. There were three phases to this study. The quantitative phase used pre- and post-test psychological health data from women in a residential substance abuse treatment program. Latent transition analysis was conducted to identify changes in group membership over time on posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression measures for comparison and intervention (EAP) participants. The qualitative phase employed semi-structured interviews and focus groups to delve deeper in the experiences of EAP participants. Qualitative thematic analysis revealed emergent themes regarding their experiences, perceptions, and program improvements. The third phase focused on integration to develop a more comprehensive picture of EAP and its efficacy. Three latent statuses (Severe, Moderate, and Mild) of psychological health were extracted based on severity of PTSD, anxiety, and depression symptoms. Over time, participants exhibited substantial decreases in symptom severity, where the majority of women transitioned from a high severity status to a milder severity status. Three main qualitative themes emerged: bonding with horses, relating EAP experiences to addiction and recovery, and EAP effectiveness. The mixed methods results suggest that EAP is valuable for improving women’s psychological health, building confidence to sustain healthy relationships, and increasing group cohesion among peers. Mixed methods researchers are encouraged to take advantage of advanced quantitative methods and to use visual joint displays during integration. In sum, latent transition analysis and qualitative case study represent a valuable partnership of two person-centered approaches for answering dynamic research questions in mixed methods research.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Quantitative psychology

Recommended Citation

Bash, Kirstie L, "Intersecting Advanced Quantitative Designs with Mixed Methods Research: A Case for Integrating Latent Transition Analysis" (2020). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI27836645.