Regression to the mean: what it is and how to deal with it

Barnett, Adrian, van der Pols, Jolieke, & Dobson, Annette (2005) Regression to the mean: what it is and how to deal with it. International Journal of Epidemiology, 34(1), pp. 215-220.

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Abstract

This article is free to read on the publisher's website

Background Regression to the mean (RTM) is a statistical phenomenon that can make natural variation in repeated data look like real change. It happens when unusually large or small measurements tend to be followed by measurements that are closer to the mean.

Methods We give some examples of the phenomenon, and discuss methods to overcome it at the design and analysis stages of a study.

Results The effect of RTM in a sample becomes more noticeable with increasing measurement error and when follow-up measurements are only examined on a sub-sample selected using a baseline value.

Conclusions RTM is a ubiquitous phenomenon in repeated data and should always be considered as a possible cause of an observed change. Its effect can be alleviated through better study design and use of suitable statistical methods.

Impact and interest:

560 citations in Scopus
532 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 45274
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Articles free to read on journal website after 12 months
DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyh299
ISSN: 0300-5771
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES (010000) > STATISTICS (010400)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Deposited On: 24 Aug 2011 22:18
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2017 05:01

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