Multilevel Modeling: Overview and Applications to Research in Counseling Psychology

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Multilevel modeling (MLM) is rapidly becoming the standard method of analyzing nested data, for example, data from students within multiple schools, data on multiple clients seen by a smaller number of therapists, and even longitudinal data. Although MLM analyses are likely to increase in frequency in counseling psychology research, many readers of counseling psychology journals have had only limited exposure to MLM concepts. This paper provides an overview of MLM that blends mathematical concepts with examples drawn from counseling psychology. This tutorial is intended to be a first step in learning about MLM; readers are referred to other sources for more advanced explorations of MLM. In addition to being a tutorial for understanding and perhaps even conducting MLM analyses, this paper reviews recent research in counseling psychology that has adopted a multilevel framework, and it provides ideas for MLM approaches to future research in counseling psychology.


This article was originally published as Kahn, J. H. (2011). Multilevel modeling: Overview and applications to research in counseling psychology. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 58(2), 257–271.