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Biometrics. 1997 Sep;53(3):937-47.

Sample size calculations for studies with correlated observations.

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Merck Research Laboratories, Blue Bell, Pennsylvania 19422, USA.


Correlated data occur frequently in biomedical research. Examples include longitudinal studies, family studies, and ophthalmologic studies. In this paper, we present a method to compute sample sizes and statistical powers for studies involving correlated observations. This is a multivariate extension of the work by Self and Mauritsen (1988, Biometrics 44, 79-86), who derived a sample size and power formula for generalized linear models based on the score statistic. For correlated data, we appeal to a statistic based on the generalized estimating equation method (Liang and Zeger, 1986, Biometrika 73, 13-22). We highlight the additional assumptions needed to deal with correlated data. Some special cases that are commonly seen in practice are discussed, followed by simulation studies.

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