Describing Discrete-Time Event Occurrence Data

Judith D. Singer and John B. Willett

in Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195152968
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199864980 | DOI:
Describing Discrete-Time Event Occurrence Data

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This chapter presents a framework for describing discrete-time event occurrence data. Section 10.1 introduces the life table, the primary tool for describing event occurrence data. Section 10.2 introduces three essential statistical summaries of the life table—the hazard function, the survivor function, and the median lifetime—and demonstrates that these ingenious statistics, which deal evenhandedly with censored and noncensored cases, are intuitively appealing as well. Section 10.3 applies the new techniques to four empirical studies, to help you develop intuition about the behavior, interpretation, and interrelationships of life table methods. Section 10.4 focuses on sampling variation, showing how to estimate standard errors. Section 10.5 concludes by showing how to compute all these summaries using standard cross-tabulation programs available in every major statistical package.

Keywords: life table; event occurrence data; hazard functions; survivor functions; median lifetimes; sampling variation

Chapter.  11477 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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