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Analysis of covariance with pre-treatment measurements in randomized trials: comparison of equal and unequal slopes

Ikuko Funatogawa, Takashi Funatogawa
Biometrical Journal. Biometrische Zeitschrift 2011, 53 (5): 810-21
21887795
In randomized trials, an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) is often used to analyze post-treatment measurements with pre-treatment measurements as a covariate to compare two treatment groups. Random allocation guarantees only equal variances of pre-treatment measurements. We hence consider data with unequal covariances and variances of post-treatment measurements without assuming normality. Recently, we showed that the actual type I error rate of the usual ANCOVA assuming equal slopes and equal residual variances is asymptotically at a nominal level under equal sample sizes, and that of the ANCOVA with unequal variances is asymptotically at a nominal level, even under unequal sample sizes. In this paper, we investigated the asymptotic properties of the ANCOVA with unequal slopes for such data. The estimators of the treatment effect at the observed mean are identical between equal and unequal variance assumptions, and these are asymptotically normal estimators for the treatment effect at the true mean. However, the variances of these estimators based on standard formulas are biased, and the actual type I error rates are not at a nominal level, irrespective of variance assumptions. In equal sample sizes, the efficiency of the usual ANCOVA assuming equal slopes and equal variances is asymptotically the same as those of the ANCOVA with unequal slopes and higher than that of the ANCOVA with equal slopes and unequal variances. Therefore, the use of the usual ANCOVA is appropriate in equal sample sizes.

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