Missing data methods in longitudinal studies: a review

Test (Madr). 2009 May 1;18(1):1-43. doi: 10.1007/s11749-009-0138-x.


Incomplete data are quite common in biomedical and other types of research, especially in longitudinal studies. During the last three decades, a vast amount of work has been done in the area. This has led, on the one hand, to a rich taxonomy of missing-data concepts, issues, and methods and, on the other hand, to a variety of data-analytic tools. Elements of taxonomy include: missing data patterns, mechanisms, and modeling frameworks; inferential paradigms; and sensitivity analysis frameworks. These are described in detail. A variety of concrete modeling devices is presented. To make matters concrete, two case studies are considered. The first one concerns quality of life among breast cancer patients, while the second one examines data from the Muscatine children's obesity study.