Bayesian Restricted Spatial Regression for Examining Session Features and Patient Outcomes in Open-Enrollment Group Therapy Studies

Published in: Statistics in Medicine, v. 35, no. 1, Jan. 2016, p. 97-114

Posted on RAND.org on September 25, 2015

by Susan M. Paddock, Thomas Leininger, Sarah B. Hunter

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Group-based interventions have been developed for treating patients across a range of health conditions. Enrollment into such groups often occurs on an open (or rolling) basis. Conditional autoregression modeling of random session effects has been proposed to account for the expected correlation in session effects associated with the overlap in patient participation session to session. However, when the analytic objective is to examine the relationship between a fixed-effect session feature and a patient outcome using conditional autoregression, confounding might arise if the fixed session feature of interest and the random session effects vary across sessions in similar ways, resulting in bias and inflated standard errors of a fixed-effect session feature of interest. Motivated by the goal of examining the relationships between outcomes and the session features of leader and session module theme, we applied restricted spatial regression to the analysis of patient outcomes collected from 132 participants in an open-enrollment group for treating depression among patients of a residential alcohol and other drug treatment program, adapting the approach to the multilevel data structure of open-enrollment group data. As compared with standard conditional autoregression, the restricted regression approach resulted in more precise estimates of regression coefficients of the module theme and leader predictor variables. The restricted regression approach provides an important analytic tool for group therapy researchers who are investigating the relationship between key components of open-enrollment group therapy interventions and patient outcomes.

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