Application of the Pattern-Mixture Latent Trajectory Model in an Epidemiological Study with Non-Ignorable Missingness

J Data Sci. 2008 Apr 1;6(2):247-259.


In longitudinal studies where the same individuals are followed over time, bias caused by unobserved data raises a serious concern, particularly when the data are missing in a non-ignorable manner. One approach to deal with non-ignorable missing data is a pattern mixture model. In this paper, we combine the pattern mixture model with latent trajectory analysis using the SAS TRAJ procedure, which offers a practical solution to many problems of the same nature. Our model assumes a stochastic process that categorizes a relative large number of missing-data patterns into several latent groups, each of which has unique outcome trajectory, which allows patterns with missing values to share information with patterns with more data points. We estimated the longitudinal trajectories of a memory test over 12 years of follow-up, using data from the prospective epidemiological study of dementia. Missing data patterns were created conditional on survival, and final marginal response was obtained by excluding those who had died at each time point. The approach presented here is appealing since it can be easily implemented using common software.