A gradual effects model for single-case designs


Single-case designs are a class of repeated measures experiments used to evaluate the effects of interventions for specialized populations, such as individuals with low-incidence disabilities. There has been growing interest in systematic reviews and syntheses of evidence from single-case designs, but there remains a need to further develop appropriate statistical models and effect sizes for data from the designs. We propose a novel model for single-case data that exhibit non-linear time trends created by an intervention that produces gradual effects, which build up and dissipate over time. The model expresses a structural relationship between a pattern of treatment assignment and an outcome variable, making it appropriate for both treatment reversal and multiple baseline designs. It is formulated as a generalized linear model so that it can be applied to outcomes measured as frequency counts or proportions, both of which are commonly used in single-case research, while providing readily interpretable effect size estimates such as log response ratios or log odds ratios. We demonstrate the gradual effects model by applying it to data from a single-case study and examine the performance of proposed estimation methods in a Monte Carlo simulation of frequency count data.

Multivariate Behavioral Research, forthcoming