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A Positive Stable Frailty Model for Clustered Failure Time Data with Covariate-Dependent Frailty




Summary In this article, we propose a positive stable shared frailty Cox model for clustered failure time data where the frailty distribution varies with cluster-level covariates. The proposed model accounts for covariate-dependent intracluster correlation and permits both conditional and marginal inferences. We obtain marginal inference directly from a marginal model, then use a stratified Cox-type pseudo-partial likelihood approach to estimate the regression coefficient for the frailty parameter. The proposed estimators are consistent and asymptotically normal and a consistent estimator of the covariance matrix is provided. Simulation studies show that the proposed estimation procedure is appropriate for practical use with a realistic number of clusters. Finally, we present an application of the proposed method to kidney transplantation data from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.