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Determining Appropriate Sample Sizes and Their Effects on Key Parameters in Longitudinal Three-Level Models

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Through a two study simulation design with different design conditions (sample size/time points at level 1 (L1) was set to 3, level 2 (L2) sample size ranged from 10 to 75, level 3 (L3) sample size ranged from 30 to 150, intraclass correlation (ICC) ranging from 0.10 to 0.50, model complexity ranging from one predictor to three predictors), this study intends to provide general guidelines about adequate sample sizes at level 2 and level 3 under varying ICC conditions for a viable three level HLM analysis (e.g., reasonably unbiased and accurate parameter estimates). The discussion includes ranges of sample sizes that are inadequate or adequate for convergence, absolute bias, relative bias, root mean squared error, and coverage of individual parameter estimates.


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