Structural inference in transition measurement error models for longitudinal data.
We propose a new class of models, transition measurement error models, to study the effects of covariates and the past responses on the current response in longitudinal studies when one of the covariates is measured with error. We show that the response variable conditional on the error-prone covariate follows a complex transition mixed effects model. The naive model obtained by ignoring the measurement error correctly specifies the transition part of the model, but misspecifies the covariate effect structure and ignores the random effects. We next study the asymptotic bias in naive estimator obtained by ignoring the measurement error for both continuous and discrete outcomes. We show that the naive estimator of the regression coefficient of the error-prone covariate is attenuated, while the naive estimators of the regression coefficients of the past responses are generally inflated. We then develop a structural modeling approach for parameter estimation using the maximum likelihood estimation method. In view of the multidimensional integration required by full maximum likelihood estimation, an EM algorithm is developed to calculate maximum likelihood estimators, in which Monte Carlo simulations are used to evaluate the conditional expectations in the E-step. We evaluate the performance of the proposed method through a simulation study and apply it to a longitudinal social support study for elderly women with heart disease. An additional simulation study shows that the Bayesian information criterion (BIC) performs well in choosing the correct transition orders of the models.
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