The reservoir model: A differential equation model of psychological regulation.
Differential equation models can be used to describe the relationships between the current state of a system of constructs (e.g., stress) and how those constructs are changing (e.g., based on variable-like experiences). The following article describes a differential equation model based on the concept of a reservoir. With a physical reservoir, such as one for water, the level of the liquid in the reservoir at any time depends on the contributions to the reservoir (inputs) and the amount of liquid removed from the reservoir (outputs). This reservoir model might be useful for constructs such as stress, where events might "add up" over time (e.g., life stressors, inputs), but individuals simultaneously take action to "blow off steam" (e.g., engage coping resources, outputs). The reservoir model can provide descriptive statistics of the inputs that contribute to the "height" (level) of a construct and a parameter that describes a person's ability to dissipate the construct. After discussing the model, we describe a method of fitting the model as a structural equation model using latent differential equation modeling and latent distribution modeling. A simulation study is presented to examine recovery of the input distribution and output parameter. The model is then applied to the daily self-reports of negative affect and stress from a sample of older adults from the Notre Dame Longitudinal Study on Aging. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)