Propensity score weighting for causal subgroup analysis.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

A common goal in comparative effectiveness research is to estimate treatment effects on prespecified subpopulations of patients. Though widely used in medical research, causal inference methods for such subgroup analysis (SGA) remain underdeveloped, particularly in observational studies. In this article, we develop a suite of analytical methods and visualization tools for causal SGA. First, we introduce the estimand of subgroup weighted average treatment effect and provide the corresponding propensity score weighting estimator. We show that balancing covariates within a subgroup bounds the bias of the estimator of subgroup causal effects. Second, we propose to use the overlap weighting (OW) method to achieve exact balance within subgroups. We further propose a method that combines OW and LASSO, to balance the bias-variance tradeoff in SGA. Finally, we design a new diagnostic graph-the Connect-S plot-for visualizing the subgroup covariate balance. Extensive simulation studies are presented to compare the proposed method with several existing methods. We apply the proposed methods to the patient-centered results for uterine fibroids (COMPARE-UF) registry data to evaluate alternative management options for uterine fibroids for relief of symptoms and quality of life.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Yang, S; Lorenzi, E; Papadogeorgou, G; Wojdyla, DM; Li, F; Thomas, LE

Published Date

  • August 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 40 / 19

Start / End Page

  • 4294 - 4309

PubMed ID

  • 33982316

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8360075

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1097-0258

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0277-6715

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/sim.9029


  • eng