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Biometrics. 2000 Dec;56(4):1016-22.

Estimation of multivariate frailty models using penalized partial likelihood.

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Rolf Nevanlinna Institute, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 4, FIN-00014 Helsinki, Finland.


There exists a growing literature on the estimation of gamma distributed multiplicative shared frailty models. There is, however, often a need to model more complicated frailty structures, but attempts to extend gamma frailties run into complications. Motivated by hip replacement data with a more complicated dependence structure, we propose a model based on multiplicative frailties with a multivariate log-normal joint distribution. We give a justification and an estimation procedure for this generally structured frailty model, which is a generalization of the one presented by McGilchrist (1993, Biometrics 49, 221-225). The estimation is based on Laplace approximation of the likelihood function. This leads to estimating equations based on a penalized fixed effects partial likelihood, where the marginal distribution of the frailty terms determines the penalty term. The tuning parameters of the penalty function, i.e., the frailty variances, are estimated by maximizing an approximate profile likelihood. The performance of the approximation is evaluated by simulation, and the frailty model is fitted to the hip replacement data.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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