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International Journal of Health Geographics

, 14:1

First Online: 06 January 2015Received: 10 October 2014Accepted: 16 December 2014DOI: 10.1186-1476-072X-14-1

Cite this article as: Bihrmann, K. & Ersbøll, A.K. Int J Health Geogr 2015 14: 1. doi:10.1186-1476-072X-14-1


BackgroundThe range of influence refers to the average distance between locations at which the observed outcome is no longer correlated. In many studies, missing data occur and a popular tool for handling missing data is multiple imputation. The objective of this study was to investigate how the estimated range of influence is affected when 1 the outcome is only observed at some of a given set of locations, and 2 multiple imputation is used to impute the outcome at the non-observed locations.

MethodsThe study was based on the simulation of missing outcomes in a complete data set. The range of influence was estimated from a logistic regression model with a spatially structured random effect, modelled by a Gaussian field. Results were evaluated by comparing estimates obtained from complete, missing, and imputed data.

ResultsIn most simulation scenarios, the range estimates were consistent with ≤25% missing data. In some scenarios, however, the range estimate was affected by even a moderate number of missing observations. Multiple imputation provided a potential improvement in the range estimate with ≥50% missing data, but also increased the uncertainty of the estimate.

ConclusionsThe effect of missing observations on the estimated range of influence depended to some extent on the missing data mechanism. In general, the overall effect of missing observations was small compared to the uncertainty of the range estimate.

KeywordsRange of influence Missing data Binary data INLA Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1476-072X-14-1 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Kristine Bihrmann - Annette K Ersbøll


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