A latent-class mixture model for incomplete longitudinal Gaussian data

Caroline Beunckens, Geert Molenberghs, Geert Verbeke, Craig Mallinckrodt
Biometrics 2008, 64 (1): 96-105
In the analyses of incomplete longitudinal clinical trial data, there has been a shift, away from simple methods that are valid only if the data are missing completely at random, to more principled ignorable analyses, which are valid under the less restrictive missing at random assumption. The availability of the necessary standard statistical software nowadays allows for such analyses in practice. While the possibility of data missing not at random (MNAR) cannot be ruled out, it is argued that analyses valid under MNAR are not well suited for the primary analysis in clinical trials. Rather than either forgetting about or blindly shifting to an MNAR framework, the optimal place for MNAR analyses is within a sensitivity-analysis context. One such route for sensitivity analysis is to consider, next to selection models, pattern-mixture models or shared-parameter models. The latter can also be extended to a latent-class mixture model, the approach taken in this article. The performance of the so-obtained flexible model is assessed through simulations and the model is applied to data from a depression trial.

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