Nonlinear Mixed-Effects Growth Models: A Tutorial Using 'saemix' in R


  • Peter Boedeker


Modeling growth across repeated measures of individuals and evaluating predictors of growth can reveal developmental patterns and factors that affect those patterns. When growth follows a sigmoidal shape, the Logistic, Gompertz, and Richards nonlinear growth curves are plausible. These functions have parameters that specifically control the starting point, total growth, overall rate of change, and point of greatest growth. Variability in growth parameters across individuals can be explained by covariates in a mixed model framework. The purpose of this tutorial is to provide analysts a brief introduction to these growth curves and demonstrate their application. The 'saemix' package in R is used to fit models to simulated data to answer specific research questions. Enough code is provided in-text to describe how to execute the analyses with the complete code and data provided in Supplementary Materials.