Multiple Imputation to Account for Measurement Error in Marginal Structural Models

Academic Article


  • Background: Marginal structural models are an important tool for observational studies. These models typically assume that variables are measured without error. We describe a method to account for differential and nondifferential measurement error in a marginal structural model. Methods: We illustrate the method estimating the joint effects of antiretroviral therapy initiation and current smoking on all-cause mortality in a United States cohort of 12,290 patients with HIV followed for up to 5 years between 1998 and 2011. Smoking status was likely measured with error, but a subset of 3,686 patients who reported smoking status on separate questionnaires composed an internal validation subgroup. We compared a standard joint marginal structural model fit using inverse probability weights to a model that also accounted for misclassification of smoking status using multiple imputation. Results: In the standard analysis, current smoking was not associated with increased risk of mortality. After accounting for misclassification, current smoking without therapy was associated with increased mortality (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.2 [95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.6, 2.3]). The HR for current smoking and therapy [0.4 (95% CI = 0.2, 0.7)] was similar to the HR for no smoking and therapy (0.4; 95% CI = 0.2, 0.6). Conclusions: Multiple imputation can be used to account for measurement error in concert with methods for causal inference to strengthen results from observational studies.
  • Published In

  • Epidemiology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Edwards JK; Cole SR; Westreich D; Crane H; Eron JJ; Mathews WC; Moore R; Boswell SL; Lesko CR; Mugavero MJ
  • Start Page

  • 645
  • End Page

  • 652
  • Volume

  • 26
  • Issue

  • 5