A stratification approach using logit-based models for confounder adjustment in the study of continuous outcomes

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Authors Chuen Seng Tan, Nathalie C St√łer, +7 authors Marie Reilly
Journal/Conference Name Statistical methods in medical research
Paper Category
Paper Abstract The control of confounding is an area of extensive epidemiological research, especially in the field of causal inference for observational studies. Matched cohort and case-control study designs are commonly implemented to control for confounding effects without specifying the functional form of the relationship between the outcome and confounders. This paper extends the commonly used regression models in matched designs for binary and survival outcomes (i.e. conditional logistic and stratified Cox proportional hazards) to studies of continuous outcomes through a novel interpretation and application of logit-based regression models from the econometrics and marketing research literature. We compare the performance of the maximum likelihood estimators using simulated data and propose a heuristic argument for obtaining the residuals for model diagnostics. We illustrate our proposed approach with two real data applications. Our simulation studies demonstrate that our stratification approach is robust to model misspecification and that the distribution of the estimated residuals provides a useful diagnostic when the strata are of moderate size. In our applications to real data, we demonstrate that parity and menopausal status are associated with percent mammographic density, and that the mean level and variability of inpatient blood glucose readings vary between medical and surgical wards within a national tertiary hospital. Our work highlights how the same class of regression models, available in most statistical software, can be used to adjust for confounding in the study of binary, time-to-event and continuous outcomes.
Date of publication 2019
Code Programming Language R
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