A note on the tests for clustered matched-pair binary data

Biom J. 2010 Oct;52(5):638-52. doi: 10.1002/bimj.201000035.


McNemar's test is used to assess the difference between two different procedures (treatments) using independent matched-pair data. For matched-pair data collected in clusters, the tests proposed by Durkalski et al. and Obuchowski are popular and commonly used in practice since these tests do not require distributional assumptions or assumptions on the structure of the within-cluster correlation of the data. Motivated by these tests, this note proposes a modified Obuchowski test and illustrates comparisons of the proposed test with the extant methods. An extensive Monte Carlo simulation study suggests that the proposed test performs well with respect to the nominal size, and has higher power; Obuchowski's test is most conservative, and the performance of the Durkalski's test varies between the modified Obuchowski test and the original Obuchowski's test. These results form the basis for our recommendation that (i) for equal cluster size, the modified Obuchowski test is always preferred; (ii) for varying cluster size Durkalski's test can be used for a small number of clusters (e.g. K < 50), whereas for a large number of clusters (e.g. K ≥ 50) the modified Obuchowski test is preferred. Finally, to illustrate practical application of the competing tests, two real collections of clustered matched-pair data are analyzed.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Biometry / methods*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Humans
  • Matched-Pair Analysis*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods
  • Probability
  • Psychiatry / methods
  • Research Design
  • Sample Size
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods