, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 329-354

A Study of Interval Censoring in Parametric Regression Models

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Abstract

Parametric models for interval censored data can now easily be fitted with minimal programming in certain standard statistical software packages. Regression equations can be introduced, both for the location and for the dispersion parameters. Finite mixture models can also be fitted, with a point mass on right (or left) censored observations, to allow for individuals who cannot have the event (or already have it). This mixing probability can also be allowed to follow a regression equation.

Here, models based on nine different distributions are compared for three examples of heavily censored data as well as a set of simulated data. We find that, for parametric models, interval censoring can often be ignored and that the density, at centres of intervals, can be used instead in the likelihood function, although the approximation is not always reliable. In the context of heavily interval censored data, the conclusions from parametric models are remarkably robust with changing distributional assumptions and generally more informative than the corresponding non-parametric models.