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The potential for bias due to misclassification error in regression analysis is well understood by statisticians and epidemiologists. Assuming little or no available data for estimating misclassification probabilities, investigators sometimes seek to gauge the sensitivity of an estimated effect to variations in the assumed values of those probabilities. We present an intuitive and flexible approach to such a sensitivity analysis, assuming an underlying logistic regression model. For outcome misclassification, we argue that a likelihood-based analysis is the cleanest and the most preferable approach. In the case of covariate misclassification, we combine observed data on the outcome, error-prone binary covariate of interest, and other covariates measured without error, together with investigator-supplied values for sensitivity and specificity parameters, to produce corresponding positive and negative predictive values. These values serve as estimated weights to be used in fitting the model of interest to an appropriately defined expanded data set using standard statistical software. Jackknifing provides a convenient tool for incorporating uncertainty in the estimated weights into valid standard errors to accompany log odds ratio estimates obtained from the sensitivity analysis. Examples illustrate the flexibility of this unified strategy, and simulations suggest that it performs well relative to a maximum likelihood approach carried out via numerical optimization.
Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, The Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University, 1518 Clifton Rd. N.E., Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Statistics in medicine
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Procedures for finding the mathematical function which best describes the relationship between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables. In linear regression (see LINEAR MODELS) the relationship is constrained to be a straight line and LEAST-SQUARES ANALYSIS is used to determine the best fit. In logistic regression (see LOGISTIC MODELS) the dependent variable is qualitative rather than continuously variable and LIKELIHOOD FUNCTIONS are used to find the best relationship. In multiple regression, the dependent variable is considered to depend on more than a single independent variable.
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