Published Papers - Abstract 155

Mishra G & Dobson A. Multiple imputation for body mass index: Lessons from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. Statistics in Medicine, 2004; 23(19): 3077-3087

In large epidemiological studies missing data can be a problem, especially if information is sought on a sensitive topic or when a composite measure is calculated from several variables each affected by missing values. Multiple imputation is the method of choice for ‘filling in’ missing data based on associationsamong variables. Using an example about body mass index from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, we identify a subset of variables that are particularly useful for imputing values for the target variables. Then we illustrate two uses of multiple imputation. The first is to examine and correct for bias when data are not missing completely at random. The second is to impute missing values for an important covariate; in this case omission from the imputation process of variables to be used in the analysis may introduce bias. We conclude with several recommendations for handling issues of missing data.