Addressing Extreme Propensity Scores in Estimating Counterfactual Survival Functions via the Overlap Weights.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW) approach is popular for evaluating causal effects in observational studies, but extreme propensity scores could bias the estimator and induce excessive variance. Recently, the overlap weighting approach has been proposed to alleviate this problem, which smoothly down-weights the subjects with extreme propensity scores. Although advantages of overlap weighting have been extensively demonstrated in literature with continuous and binary outcomes, research on its performance with time-to-event or survival outcomes is limited. In this article, we propose estimators that combine propensity score weighting and inverse probability of censoring weighting to estimate the counterfactual survival functions. These estimators are applicable to the general class of balancing weights, which includes IPTW, trimming, and overlap weighting as special cases. We conduct simulations to examine the empirical performance of these estimators with different propensity score weighting schemes in terms of bias, variance, and 95% confidence interval coverage, under various degrees of covariate overlap between treatment groups and censoring rates. We demonstrate that overlap weighting consistently outperforms IPTW and associated trimming methods in bias, variance, and coverage for time-to-event outcomes, and the advantages increase as the degree of covariate overlap between the treatment groups decreases.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cheng, C; Li, F; Thomas, LE; Li, FF

Published Date

  • May 20, 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 191 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 1140 - 1151

PubMed ID

  • 35238335

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1476-6256

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/aje/kwac043


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States