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Epidemiology. 2007 Sep;18(5):552-60.

The importance and role of intracluster correlations in planning cluster trials.

Author information

1
Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina School of Public Health, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7420, USA. jpreisse@bios.unc.edu

Abstract

There is increasing recognition of the critical role of intracluster correlations of health behavior outcomes in cluster intervention trials. This study examines the estimation, reporting, and use of intracluster correlations in planning cluster trials. We use an estimating equations approach to estimate the intracluster correlations corresponding to the multiple-time-point nested cross-sectional design. Sample size formulae incorporating 2 types of intracluster correlations are examined for the purpose of planning future trials. The traditional intracluster correlation is the correlation among individuals within the same community at a specific time point. A second type is the correlation among individuals within the same community at different time points. For a "time x condition" analysis of a pretest-posttest nested cross-sectional trial design, we show that statistical power considerations based upon a posttest-only design generally are not an adequate substitute for sample size calculations that incorporate both types of intracluster correlations. Estimation, reporting, and use of intracluster correlations are illustrated for several dichotomous measures related to underage drinking collected as part of a large nonrandomized trial to enforce underage drinking laws in the United States from 1998 to 2004.

PMID:
17879427
PMCID:
PMC2567827
DOI:
10.1097/ede.0b013e3181200199
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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