A Revisit on Tests for Homogeneity of the Risk Difference




Summary. Lipsitz et al. (1998, Biometrics54, 148–160) discussed testing the homogeneity of the risk difference for a series of 2 × 2 tables. They proposed and evaluated several weighted test statistics, including the commonly used weighted least squares test statistic. Here we suggest various important improvements on these test statistics. First, we propose using the one-sided analogues of the test procedures proposed by Lipsitz et al. because we should only reject the null hypothesis of homogeneity when the variation of the estimated risk differences between centers is large. Second, we generalize their study by redesigning the simulations to include the situations considered by Lipsitz et al. (1998) as special cases. Third, we consider a logarithmic transformation of the weighted least squares test statistic to improve the normal approximation of its sampling distribution. On the basis of Monte Carlo simulations, we note that, as long as the mean treatment group size per table is moderate or large (≥16), this simple test statistic, in conjunction with the commonly used adjustment procedure for sparse data, can be useful when the number of 2 × 2 tables is small or moderate (≤32). In these situations, in fact, we find that our proposed method generally outperforms all the statistics considered by Lipsitz et al. Finally, we include a general guideline about which test statistic should be used in a variety of situations.