Standard and reference-based conditional mean imputation

Pharm Stat. 2022 Nov;21(6):1246-1257. doi: 10.1002/pst.2234. Epub 2022 May 19.


Clinical trials with longitudinal outcomes typically include missing data due to missed assessments or structural missingness of outcomes after intercurrent events handled with a hypothetical strategy. Approaches based on Bayesian random multiple imputation and Rubin's rules for pooling results across multiple imputed data sets are increasingly used in order to align the analysis of these trials with the targeted estimand. We propose and justify deterministic conditional mean imputation combined with the jackknife for inference as an alternative approach. The method is applicable to imputations under a missing-at-random assumption as well as for reference-based imputation approaches. In an application and a simulation study, we demonstrate that it provides consistent treatment effect estimates with the Bayesian approach and reliable frequentist inference with accurate standard error estimation and type I error control. A further advantage of the method is that it does not rely on random sampling and is therefore replicable and unaffected by Monte Carlo error.

Keywords: estimands; longitudinal data; reference-based imputation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bayes Theorem
  • Computer Simulation
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Humans
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Research Design*