Faculty & Research -Interaction Effects in Cross-Lagged Panel Models: SEM with Latent Interactions Applied to Work-Family Conflict, Job Satisfaction, and Gender

Interaction Effects in Cross-Lagged Panel Models: SEM with Latent Interactions Applied to Work-Family Conflict, Job Satisfaction, and Gender

Showing a new approach to analyzing latent interactions in cross-lagged panel models, this paper offers valuable insights for those working with longitudinal data. By distinguishing stable and dynamic components of latent variables, it opens doors to explore diverse causal relationships and moderation effects, equipping researchers with a powerful tool to predict outcomes and advance their theories.

Unlocking the Potential of Latent Interactions

In the realm of cross-lagged panel models and longitudinal data, a new approach has emerged, exploring  latent interaction effects. This paper paves the way for researchers, practitioners, and data enthusiasts to navigate the intricate web of relationships within their datasets.

Latent Variables: Unveiling the Unseen

At the heart of this innovative approach lies the exploration of latent variables which represent complex concepts or phenomena that cannot be measured directly. Think of it as dissecting a complex puzzle into two key components: the stable (between-person) and dynamic (within-person) aspects. When examining job satisfaction, consider the between-person aspect as the inherent, enduring trait that differs among individuals—such as an individual’s baseline level of contentment in their work. On the other hand, the within-person dynamic facet captures the daily fluctuations in job satisfaction, influenced by the ever-changing tasks and the ambiance of the workplace—a person’s moment-to-moment experiences contributing to their overall satisfaction. This distinction allows us to precisely identify and understand the distinct within-person and between-person components in the context of job satisfaction. By isolating these components, we uncover purely dynamic latent interactions (WxW), purely stable interactions (BxB), and cross-level interactions (BxW).

Two Sides of the Coin: AR and CL Effects

To delve deeper into latent interaction modeling in panel data, we adopt a multi-level approach, contemplating two fundamental effects. The first effect, auto-regressive (AR), explores how a variable’s past state influences its future state. The second, cross-lagged (CL), delves into how one variable’s past state impacts another variable’s future state.

Tools for Your Arsenal: Mplus Software

In this paper, we equip you with practical tools. We share our Mplus software code and output files, allowing you to unleash the power of latent interaction modeling on your own datasets.


This paper employs structural equation modeling (SEM) to analyze latent interaction effects in cross-lagged panel models. It dissects latent variables into stable (between-person) and dynamic (within-person) components, enabling the exploration of purely dynamic, purely stable, and cross-level interactions. The methodology combines auto-regressive (AR) and cross-lagged (CL) effects, providing a comprehensive framework for modeling latent interactions in panel data.

Applications and beneficiaries

Here are some examples how this new tool can be applied:

Researchers in Organizational Psychology can apply this research to understand how workplace dynamics, job satisfaction, and work-family conflict evolve over time, contributing to enhanced organizational well-being.

Human Resource Professionals can gain insights into factors influencing employee satisfaction and work-family balance, guiding HR policies for improved well-being and productivity.

Marketing Professionals benefit from a powerful analysis approach. For instance, in consumer satisfaction research, identifying trait-like preferences (BxB) and dynamic fluctuations (WxW) enables marketers to tailor strategies, refining long-term product features and adjusting short-term campaigns. This nuanced approach enhances marketers’ ability to strategically meet evolving consumer needs.

Reference to the research

Ozkok, O., Vaulont, M. J., Zyphur, M. J., Zhang, Z., Preacher, K. J., Koval, P., & Zheng, Y. (2022). Interaction Effects in Cross-Lagged Panel Models: SEM with Latent Interactions Applied to Work-Family Conflict, Job Satisfaction, and Gender. Organizational Research Methods, 25(4), 673-715.

Consult the research paper

Link to media

Ozkok O, Vaulont MJ. Interaction Effects in Cross Lagged Panel Models. Organizational research methods Youtube