Propensity scores used for analysis of cluster randomized trials with selection bias: a simulation study


Correspondence to: Clémence Leyrat, INSERM CIC 202, 2 bd Tonnellé, 37044 Tours cedex 9, France.



Cluster randomized trials (CRTs) are often prone to selection bias despite randomization. Using a simulation study, we investigated the use of propensity score (PS) based methods in estimating treatment effects in CRTs with selection bias when the outcome is quantitative. Of four PS-based methods (adjustment on PS, inverse weighting, stratification, and optimal full matching method), three successfully corrected the bias, as did an approach using classical multivariable regression. However, they showed poorer statistical efficiency than classical methods, with higher standard error for the treatment effect, and type I error much smaller than the 5% nominal level. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.