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Modeling Repeatable Events Using Discrete-Time Data: Predicting Marital Dissolution


Department of Sociology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9081 (


I join two methodologies by illustrating the application of multilevel modeling principles to hazard-rate models with an emphasis on procedures for discrete-time data that contain repeatable events. I demonstrate this application using data taken from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) to ascertain the relationship between multiple covariates and risk of subsequent marital dissolution. I consider both fixed- and random-effects versions of the multilevel model, as well as a Generalized Estimating Equation alternative to estimating random effects. I compare results obtained from the various estimators, noting why differences occur, and recommend when to choose the various alternatives. I also provide a set of SAS and STATA programs that can be used to analyze the NSFG data.