A new method for constructing networks from binary data

Claudia D van Borkulo, Denny Borsboom, Sacha Epskamp, Tessa F Blanken, Lynn Boschloo, Robert A Schoevers, Lourens J Waldorp

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Network analysis is entering fields where network structures are unknown, such as psychology and the educational sciences. A crucial step in the application of network models lies in the assessment of network structure. Current methods either have serious drawbacks or are only suitable for Gaussian data. In the present paper, we present a method for assessing network structures from binary data. Although models for binary data are infamous for their computational intractability, we present a computationally efficient model for estimating network structures. The approach, which is based on Ising models as used in physics, combines logistic regression with model selection based on a Goodness-of-Fit measure to identify relevant relationships between variables that define connections in a network. A validation study shows that this method succeeds in revealing the most relevant features of a network for realistic sample sizes. We apply our proposed method to estimate the network of depression and anxiety symptoms from symptom scores of 1108 subjects. Possible extensions of the model are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5918
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014


  • Algorithms
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Computer Simulation
  • Depression/diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Software


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