An investigation of the impact of various geographical scales for the specification of spatial dependence

Kang, Su Yun, McGree, James, Baade, Peter, & Mengersen, Kerrie (2014) An investigation of the impact of various geographical scales for the specification of spatial dependence. Journal of Applied Statistics, 41(11), pp. 2515-2538.

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Ecological studies are based on characteristics of groups of individuals, which are common in various disciplines including epidemiology. It is of great interest for epidemiologists to study the geographical variation of a disease by accounting for the positive spatial dependence between neighbouring areas. However, the choice of scale of the spatial correlation requires much attention. In view of a lack of studies in this area, this study aims to investigate the impact of differing definitions of geographical scales using a multilevel model. We propose a new approach -- the grid-based partitions and compare it with the popular census region approach. Unexplained geographical variation is accounted for via area-specific unstructured random effects and spatially structured random effects specified as an intrinsic conditional autoregressive process. Using grid-based modelling of random effects in contrast to the census region approach, we illustrate conditions where improvements are observed in the estimation of the linear predictor, random effects, parameters, and the identification of the distribution of residual risk and the aggregate risk in a study region. The study has found that grid-based modelling is a valuable approach for spatially sparse data while the SLA-based and grid-based approaches perform equally well for spatially dense data.

Impact and interest:

4 citations in Scopus
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2 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 75776
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Published online 04 Jun 2014.
The embargo on the accepted manuscript version will expire on December 2015
Keywords: Bayesian hierarchical models, ecological fallacy, grid-based partitions, integrated nested Laplace approximation, intrinsic conditional autoregression, spatial epidemiology
DOI: 10.1080/02664763.2014.920779
ISSN: 1360-0532
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES (010000) > STATISTICS (010400) > Applied Statistics (010401)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Past > Schools > Mathematical Sciences
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Taylor & Francis
Deposited On: 28 Aug 2014 22:58
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2016 02:15

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