A penalized latent class model for ordinal data

Stacia M. Desantis, E. Andrés Houseman, Brent A. Coull, Anat Stemmer-Rachamimov, Rebecca A. Betensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Latent class models provide a useful framework for clustering observations based on several features. Application of latent class methodology to correlated, high-dimensional ordinal data poses many challenges. Unconstrained analyses may not result in an estimable model. Thus, information contained in ordinal variables may not be fully exploited by researchers. We develop a penalized latent class model to facilitate analysis of high-dimensional ordinal data. By stabilizing maximum likelihood estimation, we are able to fit an ordinal latent class model that would otherwise not be identifiable without application of strict constraints. We illustrate our methodology in a study of schwannoma, a peripheral nerve sheath tumor, that included 3 clinical subtypes and 23 ordinal histological measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-262
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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