Bayesian model estimation and comparison for longitudinal categorical data

Tran, Thu Trung (2008) Bayesian model estimation and comparison for longitudinal categorical data. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

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In this thesis, we address issues of model estimation for longitudinal categorical data and of model selection for these data with missing covariates. Longitudinal survey data capture the responses of each subject repeatedly through time, allowing for the separation of variation in the measured variable of interest across time for one subject from the variation in that variable among all subjects. Questions concerning persistence, patterns of structure, interaction of events and stability of multivariate relationships can be answered through longitudinal data analysis. Longitudinal data require special statistical methods because they must take into account the correlation between observations recorded on one subject. A further complication in analysing longitudinal data is accounting for the non- response or drop-out process. Potentially, the missing values are correlated with variables under study and hence cannot be totally excluded. Firstly, we investigate a Bayesian hierarchical model for the analysis of categorical longitudinal data from the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia. Data for each subject is observed on three separate occasions, or waves, of the survey. One of the features of the data set is that observations for some variables are missing for at least one wave. A model for the employment status of immigrants is developed by introducing, at the first stage of a hierarchical model, a multinomial model for the response and then subsequent terms are introduced to explain wave and subject effects. To estimate the model, we use the Gibbs sampler, which allows missing data for both the response and explanatory variables to be imputed at each iteration of the algorithm, given some appropriate prior distributions. After accounting for significant covariate effects in the model, results show that the relative probability of remaining unemployed diminished with time following arrival in Australia. Secondly, we examine the Bayesian model selection techniques of the Bayes factor and Deviance Information Criterion for our regression models with miss- ing covariates. Computing Bayes factors involve computing the often complex marginal likelihood p(y|model) and various authors have presented methods to estimate this quantity. Here, we take the approach of path sampling via power posteriors (Friel and Pettitt, 2006). The appeal of this method is that for hierarchical regression models with missing covariates, a common occurrence in longitudinal data analysis, it is straightforward to calculate and interpret since integration over all parameters, including the imputed missing covariates and the random effects, is carried out automatically with minimal added complexi- ties of modelling or computation. We apply this technique to compare models for the employment status of immigrants to Australia. Finally, we also develop a model choice criterion based on the Deviance In- formation Criterion (DIC), similar to Celeux et al. (2006), but which is suitable for use with generalized linear models (GLMs) when covariates are missing at random. We define three different DICs: the marginal, where the missing data are averaged out of the likelihood; the complete, where the joint likelihood for response and covariates is considered; and the naive, where the likelihood is found assuming the missing values are parameters. These three versions have different computational complexities. We investigate through simulation the performance of these three different DICs for GLMs consisting of normally, binomially and multinomially distributed data with missing covariates having a normal distribution. We find that the marginal DIC and the estimate of the effective number of parameters, pD, have desirable properties appropriately indicating the true model for the response under differing amounts of missingness of the covariates. We find that the complete DIC is inappropriate generally in this context as it is extremely sensitive to the degree of missingness of the covariate model. Our new methodology is illustrated by analysing the results of a community survey.

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ID Code: 19240
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Pettitt, Anthony, Haynes, Michele, & Spencer, Nancy
Keywords: longitudinal data analysis, generalized linear models, Bayesian hierarchical models, Bayesian model choice, Bayes factors, deviance information criterion, missing data
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > Mathematical Sciences
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 27 Mar 2009 05:18
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:52

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