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Nurs Res. 2012 May-Jun;61(3):195-203. doi: 10.1097/NNR.0b013e3182541d8c.

Application of pattern mixture models to address missing data in longitudinal data analysis using SPSS.

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School of Nursing, George Washington University, DC, USA.



Longitudinal studies are used in nursing research to examine changes over time in health indicators. Traditional approaches to longitudinal analysis of means, such as analysis of variance with repeated measures, are limited to analyzing complete cases. This limitation can lead to biased results due to withdrawal or data omission bias or to imputation of missing data, which can lead to bias toward the null if data are not missing completely at random. Pattern mixture models are useful to evaluate the informativeness of missing data and to adjust linear mixed model (LMM) analyses if missing data are informative.


The aim of this study was to provide an example of statistical procedures for applying a pattern mixture model to evaluate the informativeness of missing data and conduct analyses of data with informative missingness in longitudinal studies using SPSS.


The data set from the Patients' and Families' Psychological Response to Home Automated External Defibrillator Trial was used as an example to examine informativeness of missing data with pattern mixture models and to use a missing data pattern in analysis of longitudinal data.


Prevention of withdrawal bias, omitted data bias, and bias toward the null in longitudinal LMMs requires the assessment of the informativeness of the occurrence of missing data.


Missing data patterns can be incorporated as fixed effects into LMMs to evaluate the contribution of the presence of informative missingness to and control for the effects of missingness on outcomes. Pattern mixture models are a useful method to address the presence and effect of informative missingness in longitudinal studies.

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