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Nicotine Tob Res. 2001 Aug;3(3):193-202.

Statistical analysis of randomized trials in tobacco treatment: longitudinal designs with dichotomous outcome.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, 94143, USA.


This article considers two important issues in the statistical treatment of data from tobacco-treatment clinical trials: (1) data analysis strategies for longitudinal studies and (2) treatment of missing data. With respect to data analysis strategies, methods are classified as 'time-naïve' or longitudinal. Time-naïve methods include tests of proportions and logistic regression. Longitudinal methods include Generalized Estimating Equations and Generalized Linear Mixed Models. It is concluded that, despite some advantages accruing to 'time-naïve' methods, in most situations, longitudinal methods are preferable. Longitudinal methods allow direct effects of the tests of time and the interaction of treatment with time, and allow model estimates based on all available data. The discussion of missing data strategies examines problems accruing to complete-case analysis, last observation carried forward, mean substitution approaches, and coding participants with missing data as using tobacco. Distinctions between different cases of missing data are reviewed. It is concluded that optimal missing data analysis strategies include a careful description of reasons for data being missing, along with use of either pattern mixture or selection modeling. A standardized method for reporting missing data is proposed. Reference and software programs for both data analysis strategies and handling of missing data are presented.

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