Modeling Count Outcomes from HIV Risk Reduction Interventions: A Comparison of Competing Statistical Models for Count Responses

Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, Box 630, University of Rochester, 265 Crittenden Boulevard, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.
AIDS research and treatment 03/2012; 2012:593569. DOI: 10.1155/2012/593569
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Modeling count data from sexual behavioral outcomes involves many challenges, especially when the data exhibit a preponderance of zeros and overdispersion. In particular, the popular Poisson log-linear model is not appropriate for modeling such outcomes. Although alternatives exist for addressing both issues, they are not widely and effectively used in sex health research, especially in HIV prevention intervention and related studies. In this paper, we discuss how to analyze count outcomes distributed with excess of zeros and overdispersion and introduce appropriate model-fit indices for comparing the performance of competing models, using data from a real study on HIV prevention intervention. The in-depth look at these common issues arising from studies involving behavioral outcomes will promote sound statistical analyses and facilitate research in this and other related areas.

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    ABSTRACT: In psychosocial and behavioral studies count outcomes recording the frequencies of the occurrence of some health or behavior outcomes (such as the number of unprotected sexual behaviors during a period of time) often contain a preponderance of zeroes because of the presence of 'structural zeroes' that occur when some subjects are not at risk for the behavior of interest. Unlike random zeroes (responses that can be greater than zero, but are zero due to sampling variability), structural zeroes are usually very different, both statistically and clinically. False interpretations of results and study findings may result if differences in the two types of zeroes are ignored. However, in practice, the status of the structural zeroes is often not observed and this latent nature complicates the data analysis. In this article, we focus on one model, the zero-inflated Poisson (ZIP) regression model that is commonly used to address zero-inflated data. We first give a brief overview of the issues of structural zeroes and the ZIP model. We then given an illustration of ZIP with data from a study on HIV-risk sexual behaviors among adolescent girls. Sample codes in SAS and Stata are also included to help perform and explain ZIP analyses.

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May 17, 2014