Multiple imputation in health-care databases: an overview and some applications

Stat Med. 1991 Apr;10(4):585-98. doi: 10.1002/sim.4780100410.


Multiple imputation for non-response replaces each missing value by two or more plausible values. The values can be chosen to represent both uncertainty about the reasons for non-response and uncertainty about which values to impute assuming the reasons for non-response are known. This paper provides an overview of methods for creating and analysing multiply-imputed data sets, and illustrates the dramatic improvements possible when using multiple rather than single imputation. A major application of multiple imputation to public-use files from the 1970 census is discussed, and several exploratory studies related to health care that have used multiple imputation are described.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual / standards*
  • Demography
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Health Services Research*
  • Information Systems / standards*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Statistics as Topic*