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Choosing marginal or random-effects models for longitudinal binary responses: application to self-reported disability among older persons.

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Longitudinal studies with binary repeated outcomes are now widespread in epidemiology. The statistical analysis of these studies presents difficulties and standard methods are inadequate. METHODS:We consider strategies for modelling binary repeated responses and focus on two specific issues: the choice between marginal and random-effects models, and the choice of the time point origin. These issues are addressed using the example of self-reported disability in older women assessed annually for 6 years. The indicator of disability "needing help to go outdoors or home-confined" is used. RESULTS:In view of the observed associations between the responses for consecutive years, the baseline response was considered as a covariate. We compared the marginal and random-effects models first when only the influence of time and age is analysed and second when individual risk factors are studied in an aetiological perspective. There were substantial differences between the parameter estimates. They were due to differences between specific concepts related to the two models and the large between-individual heterogeneity revealed by the analysis. CONCLUSIONS:A random-effects model appears to be most suitable for the analysis of self-reported disability in older women.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC140021 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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