A Bayesian Mixture Model for Changepoint Estimation Using Ordinal Predictors

08/01/2020 ∙ by Emily Roberts, et al. ∙ 0

In regression models, predictor variables with inherent ordering, such as tumor staging ranging and ECOG performance status, are commonly seen in medical settings. Statistically, it may be difficult to determine the functional form of an ordinal predictor variable. Often, such a variable is dichotomized based on whether it is above or below a certain cutoff. Other methods conveniently treat the ordinal predictor as a continuous variable and assume a linear relationship with the outcome. However, arbitrarily choosing a method may lead to inaccurate inference and treatment. In this paper, we propose a Bayesian mixture model to simultaneously assess the appropriate form of the predictor in regression models by considering the presence of a changepoint through the lens of a threshold detection problem. By using a mixture model framework to consider both dichotomous and linear forms for the variable, the estimate is a weighted average of linear and binary parameterizations. This method is applicable to continuous, binary, and survival outcomes, and easily amenable to penalized regression. We evaluated the proposed method using simulation studies and apply it to two real datasets. We provide JAGS code for easy implementation.

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