Adjusting for nonignorable missingness when estimating generalized additive models

Hui Xie
Biometrical Journal. Biometrische Zeitschrift 2010, 52 (2): 186-200
Generalized additive models (GAMs) have been widely used for flexible modeling of various types of outcomes. When the outcome in a GAM is subject to missing, practical analyses often assume that missingness is missing at random (MAR). This assumption can be of suspicion when the missingness is not by design. Evaluating the potential effects of alternative nonignorable missing data mechanism on the MAR inference from a GAM can be important but often challenging due to the complicatedness of alternative nonignorable models. We apply the index approach to local sensitivity (Troxel, Ma, and Heitjan (2004). Statistica Sinica 14, 1221-1237) to evaluate the potential changes of the GAM estimates in the neighborhood of the MAR model. The approach avoids fitting any complicated nonignorable GAM. Only MAR estimates are required to calculate the resulting sensitivity index and adjust the GAM estimates to account for nonignorable missingness. Thus the proposed approach is considerably simpler to conduct, as compared with the alternative methods. The simulation study shows that the index provides valid assessment of the local sensitivity of the GAM estimates to nonignorable missingness. We then illustrate the method using a rheumatoid arthritis clinical trial data set.

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