Latent class analysis (LCA) has been applied in many research areas to disentangle the heterogeneity of a population. Despite its popularity, its estimation method is limited to maximum likelihood estimation (MLE), which requires large samples to satisfy both the multivariate normality assumption and local independence assumption. Although many suggestions regarding adequate sample sizes were proposed, researchers continue to apply LCA with relatively smaller samples. When covariates are involved, the estimation issue is encountered more. In this study, we suggest a different estimating approach for LCA with covariates, also known as latent class regression (LCR), using a fuzzy clustering method and generalized structured component analysis (GSCA). This new approach is free from the distributional assumption and stable in estimating parameters. Parallel to the three-step approach used in the MLE-based LCA, we extend an algorithm of fuzzy clusterwise GSCA into LCR. This proposed algorithm has been demonstrated with an empirical data with both categorical and continuous covariates. Because the proposed algorithm can be used for a relatively small sample in LCR without requiring a multivariate normality assumption, the new algorithm is more applicable to social, behavioral, and health sciences.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by the Yonsei University Research Grant of 2020.
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