Interpretability and importance of functionals in competing risks and multistate models

Stat Med. 2012 May 20;31(11-12):1074-88. doi: 10.1002/sim.4385. Epub 2011 Nov 14.


The basic parameters in both survival analysis and more general multistate models, including the competing risks model and the illness-death model, are the transition hazards. It is often necessary to supplement the analysis of such models with other model parameters, which are all functionals of the transition hazards. Unfortunately, not all such functionals are equally meaningful in practical contexts, even though they may be mathematically well defined. We have found it useful to check whether the functionals satisfy three simple principles, which may be used as criteria for practical interpretability.

MeSH terms

  • Cause of Death
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical*
  • Humans
  • Markov Chains
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Risk*
  • Survival Analysis