Random effects coefficient of determination for mixed and meta-analysis models

Commun Stat Theory Methods. 2012 Jan 1;41(6):953-969. doi: 10.1080/03610926.2010.535631.


The key feature of a mixed model is the presence of random effects. We have developed a coefficient, called the random effects coefficient of determination, [Formula: see text], that estimates the proportion of the conditional variance of the dependent variable explained by random effects. This coefficient takes values from 0 to 1 and indicates how strong the random effects are. The difference from the earlier suggested fixed effects coefficient of determination is emphasized. If [Formula: see text] is close to 0, there is weak support for random effects in the model because the reduction of the variance of the dependent variable due to random effects is small; consequently, random effects may be ignored and the model simplifies to standard linear regression. The value of [Formula: see text] apart from 0 indicates the evidence of the variance reduction in support of the mixed model. If random effects coefficient of determination is close to 1 the variance of random effects is very large and random effects turn into free fixed effects-the model can be estimated using the dummy variable approach. We derive explicit formulas for [Formula: see text] in three special cases: the random intercept model, the growth curve model, and meta-analysis model. Theoretical results are illustrated with three mixed model examples: (1) travel time to the nearest cancer center for women with breast cancer in the U.S., (2) cumulative time watching alcohol related scenes in movies among young U.S. teens, as a risk factor for early drinking onset, and (3) the classic example of the meta-analysis model for combination of 13 studies on tuberculosis vaccine.

Keywords: F-test; clustered data; growth curve; longitudinal data; random effect; random intercept.