Principles for modeling propensity scores in medical research: a systematic literature review

Authors

  • Sherry Weitzen PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Community Health, Brown Medical School, Providence, RI, USA
    • Department of Community Health Box G, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Kate L. Lapane PhD,

    1. Department of Community Health, Brown Medical School, Providence, RI, USA
    2. Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, Brown Medical School, Providence, RI, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Alicia Y. Toledano ScD,

    1. Department of Community Health, Brown Medical School, Providence, RI, USA
    2. Center for Statistical Sciences, Brown Medical School, Providence, RI, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Anne L. Hume PharmD,

    1. Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, USA
    2. Department of Family Medicine, Brown Medical School, Providence, RI, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Vincent Mor PhD

    1. Department of Community Health, Brown Medical School, Providence, RI, USA
    2. Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, Brown Medical School, Providence, RI, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

  • No conflict of interest was declared.

Abstract

Purpose

To document which established criteria for logistic regression modeling researchers consider when using propensity scores in observational studies.

Methods

We performed a systematic review searching Medline and Science Citation to identify observational studies published in 2001 that addressed clinical questions using propensity score methods to adjust for treatment assignment. We abstracted aspects of propensity score model development (e.g. variable selection criteria, continuous variables included in correct functional form, interaction inclusion criteria), model discrimination and goodness of fit for 47 studies meeting inclusion criteria.

Results

We found few studies reporting on the propensity score model development or evaluation of model fit.

Conclusions

Reporting of aspects related to propensity score model development is limited and raises questions about the value of these principles in developing propensity scores from which unbiased treatment effects are estimated. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Ancillary