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Lifetime Data Anal. 2001 Dec;7(4):345-62.

Dynamic random effects models for times between repeated events.

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  • 1Clinical Trials Centre, Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China.


We consider recurrent event data when the duration or gap times between successive event occurrences are of intrinsic interest. Subject heterogeneity not attributed to observed covariates is usually handled by random effects which result in an exchangeable correlation structure for the gap times of a subject. Recently, efforts have been put into relaxing this restriction to allow non-exchangeable correlation. Here we consider dynamic models where random effects can vary stochastically over the gap times. We extend the traditional Gaussian variance components models and evaluate a previously proposed proportional hazards model through a simulation study and some examples. Besides, semiparametric estimation of the proportional hazards models is considered. Both models are easily used. The Gaussian models are easily interpreted in terms of the variance structure. On the other hand, the proportional hazards models would be more appropriate in the context of survival analysis, particularly in the interpretation of the regression parameters. They can be sensitive to the choice of model for random effects but not to the choice of the baseline hazard function.

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