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Comparison of subset selection methods in linear regression in the context of health-related quality of life and substance abuse in Russia.

Morozova O, Levina O, Uusküla A, Heimer R - BMC Med Res Methodol (2015)

Bottom Line: Model selection with stepwise methods was highly unstable, with most (and all in case of backward elimination: BIC, forward selection: BIC, and backward elimination: LRT) of the selected variables being significant (95 % confidence interval for coefficient did not include zero).Adaptive elastic net demonstrated improved stability and more conservative estimates of coefficients and standard errors compared to stepwise.In situations of high uncertainty it is beneficial to apply different methodologically sound subset selection methods, and explore where their outputs do and do not agree.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, USA. olga.morozova@yale.edu.

ABSTRACT

Background: Automatic stepwise subset selection methods in linear regression often perform poorly, both in terms of variable selection and estimation of coefficients and standard errors, especially when number of independent variables is large and multicollinearity is present. Yet, stepwise algorithms remain the dominant method in medical and epidemiological research.

Methods: Performance of stepwise (backward elimination and forward selection algorithms using AIC, BIC, and Likelihood Ratio Test, p = 0.05 (LRT)) and alternative subset selection methods in linear regression, including Bayesian model averaging (BMA) and penalized regression (lasso, adaptive lasso, and adaptive elastic net) was investigated in a dataset from a cross-sectional study of drug users in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2012-2013. Dependent variable measured health-related quality of life, and independent correlates included 44 variables measuring demographics, behavioral, and structural factors.

Results: In our case study all methods returned models of different size and composition varying from 41 to 11 variables. The percentage of significant variables among those selected in final model varied from 100 % to 27 %. Model selection with stepwise methods was highly unstable, with most (and all in case of backward elimination: BIC, forward selection: BIC, and backward elimination: LRT) of the selected variables being significant (95 % confidence interval for coefficient did not include zero). Adaptive elastic net demonstrated improved stability and more conservative estimates of coefficients and standard errors compared to stepwise. By incorporating model uncertainty into subset selection and estimation of coefficients and their standard deviations, BMA returned a parsimonious model with the most conservative results in terms of covariates significance.

Conclusions: BMA and adaptive elastic net performed best in our analysis. Based on our results and previous theoretical studies the use of stepwise methods in medical and epidemiological research may be outperformed by alternative methods in cases such as ours. In situations of high uncertainty it is beneficial to apply different methodologically sound subset selection methods, and explore where their outputs do and do not agree. We recommend that researchers, at a minimum, should explore model uncertainty and stability as part of their analyses, and report these details in epidemiological papers.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Bootstrap frequency of covariates selection in the final model using stepwise algorithms. Dependent variable is EuroQoL 5D visual analogue scale measure of the health-related quality of life. a shows results of backward elimination regression using AIC, b—using BIC, and c—using Likelihood Ratio Test (p = 0.05). d, e and f show results of forward selection regression with AIC, BIC and LRT (p = 0.05) correspondingly. Black bars represent variables selected in the final model, and light grey bars—variables excluded from the final model. Solid line and the number next to it correspond to the minimum frequency among variables included in the final model; dashed line and the number next to it correspond to the maximum frequency among variables excluded from final subset. Dotted line corresponds to the frequency = 0.9, and number next to it shows the percentage of variables in the final model with inclusion frequency over 0.9 (out of the number of variables selected in the final model). Description of variable names is provided in the Additional file 2
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Fig1: Bootstrap frequency of covariates selection in the final model using stepwise algorithms. Dependent variable is EuroQoL 5D visual analogue scale measure of the health-related quality of life. a shows results of backward elimination regression using AIC, b—using BIC, and c—using Likelihood Ratio Test (p = 0.05). d, e and f show results of forward selection regression with AIC, BIC and LRT (p = 0.05) correspondingly. Black bars represent variables selected in the final model, and light grey bars—variables excluded from the final model. Solid line and the number next to it correspond to the minimum frequency among variables included in the final model; dashed line and the number next to it correspond to the maximum frequency among variables excluded from final subset. Dotted line corresponds to the frequency = 0.9, and number next to it shows the percentage of variables in the final model with inclusion frequency over 0.9 (out of the number of variables selected in the final model). Description of variable names is provided in the Additional file 2

Mentions: The regression coefficients along with their 95 % CIs estimated asymptotically and with bootstrap for the models selected using BE and FS techniques with AIC, BIC and the LRT (p = 0.05) are presented in the Additional file 3. BE and FS algorithms resulted in very similar models, while models differed substantially depending on the inclusion criterion used. The number of variables retained in the model with AIC is 29 (of which 14 are significant at 0.05 level) for BE method, and 27 (16 are significant) for FS method. Stepwise regression with BIC resulted in models that included 13 and 11 variables for BE and FS correspondingly (all selected variables are significant). When LRT (p = 0.05) was used the algorithms retained 18 and 19 variables in the final model for BE and FS correspondingly (with 18 being significant in both cases). Figure 1 presents the results of the model stability evaluation using bootstrap. In all cases except FS: LRT (p = 0.05) the highest inclusion frequency among non-selected variables was bigger than the lowest inclusion frequency among selected variables, and in case of FS: LRT (p = 0.05) these frequencies were equal. When AIC or LRT (p = 0.05) were used as model selection criteria, the differences in mentioned inclusion probabilities were relatively small ranging from 0 to 0.07. In the case of BIC, however, the highest inclusion frequency among non-selected variables was substantially bigger than the lowest inclusion frequency among selected variables, being 0.23 and 0.32 for BE and FS correspondingly. The percentage of variables with inclusion frequency over 0.9 (of the number of variables in the final model) ranged from 15 % (BE: BIC) to 31 % (BE: AIC) (Fig. 1).Fig. 1


Comparison of subset selection methods in linear regression in the context of health-related quality of life and substance abuse in Russia.

Morozova O, Levina O, Uusküla A, Heimer R - BMC Med Res Methodol (2015)

Bootstrap frequency of covariates selection in the final model using stepwise algorithms. Dependent variable is EuroQoL 5D visual analogue scale measure of the health-related quality of life. a shows results of backward elimination regression using AIC, b—using BIC, and c—using Likelihood Ratio Test (p = 0.05). d, e and f show results of forward selection regression with AIC, BIC and LRT (p = 0.05) correspondingly. Black bars represent variables selected in the final model, and light grey bars—variables excluded from the final model. Solid line and the number next to it correspond to the minimum frequency among variables included in the final model; dashed line and the number next to it correspond to the maximum frequency among variables excluded from final subset. Dotted line corresponds to the frequency = 0.9, and number next to it shows the percentage of variables in the final model with inclusion frequency over 0.9 (out of the number of variables selected in the final model). Description of variable names is provided in the Additional file 2
© Copyright Policy - OpenAccess
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4553217&req=5

Fig1: Bootstrap frequency of covariates selection in the final model using stepwise algorithms. Dependent variable is EuroQoL 5D visual analogue scale measure of the health-related quality of life. a shows results of backward elimination regression using AIC, b—using BIC, and c—using Likelihood Ratio Test (p = 0.05). d, e and f show results of forward selection regression with AIC, BIC and LRT (p = 0.05) correspondingly. Black bars represent variables selected in the final model, and light grey bars—variables excluded from the final model. Solid line and the number next to it correspond to the minimum frequency among variables included in the final model; dashed line and the number next to it correspond to the maximum frequency among variables excluded from final subset. Dotted line corresponds to the frequency = 0.9, and number next to it shows the percentage of variables in the final model with inclusion frequency over 0.9 (out of the number of variables selected in the final model). Description of variable names is provided in the Additional file 2
Mentions: The regression coefficients along with their 95 % CIs estimated asymptotically and with bootstrap for the models selected using BE and FS techniques with AIC, BIC and the LRT (p = 0.05) are presented in the Additional file 3. BE and FS algorithms resulted in very similar models, while models differed substantially depending on the inclusion criterion used. The number of variables retained in the model with AIC is 29 (of which 14 are significant at 0.05 level) for BE method, and 27 (16 are significant) for FS method. Stepwise regression with BIC resulted in models that included 13 and 11 variables for BE and FS correspondingly (all selected variables are significant). When LRT (p = 0.05) was used the algorithms retained 18 and 19 variables in the final model for BE and FS correspondingly (with 18 being significant in both cases). Figure 1 presents the results of the model stability evaluation using bootstrap. In all cases except FS: LRT (p = 0.05) the highest inclusion frequency among non-selected variables was bigger than the lowest inclusion frequency among selected variables, and in case of FS: LRT (p = 0.05) these frequencies were equal. When AIC or LRT (p = 0.05) were used as model selection criteria, the differences in mentioned inclusion probabilities were relatively small ranging from 0 to 0.07. In the case of BIC, however, the highest inclusion frequency among non-selected variables was substantially bigger than the lowest inclusion frequency among selected variables, being 0.23 and 0.32 for BE and FS correspondingly. The percentage of variables with inclusion frequency over 0.9 (of the number of variables in the final model) ranged from 15 % (BE: BIC) to 31 % (BE: AIC) (Fig. 1).Fig. 1

Bottom Line: Model selection with stepwise methods was highly unstable, with most (and all in case of backward elimination: BIC, forward selection: BIC, and backward elimination: LRT) of the selected variables being significant (95 % confidence interval for coefficient did not include zero).Adaptive elastic net demonstrated improved stability and more conservative estimates of coefficients and standard errors compared to stepwise.In situations of high uncertainty it is beneficial to apply different methodologically sound subset selection methods, and explore where their outputs do and do not agree.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, USA. olga.morozova@yale.edu.

ABSTRACT

Background: Automatic stepwise subset selection methods in linear regression often perform poorly, both in terms of variable selection and estimation of coefficients and standard errors, especially when number of independent variables is large and multicollinearity is present. Yet, stepwise algorithms remain the dominant method in medical and epidemiological research.

Methods: Performance of stepwise (backward elimination and forward selection algorithms using AIC, BIC, and Likelihood Ratio Test, p = 0.05 (LRT)) and alternative subset selection methods in linear regression, including Bayesian model averaging (BMA) and penalized regression (lasso, adaptive lasso, and adaptive elastic net) was investigated in a dataset from a cross-sectional study of drug users in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2012-2013. Dependent variable measured health-related quality of life, and independent correlates included 44 variables measuring demographics, behavioral, and structural factors.

Results: In our case study all methods returned models of different size and composition varying from 41 to 11 variables. The percentage of significant variables among those selected in final model varied from 100 % to 27 %. Model selection with stepwise methods was highly unstable, with most (and all in case of backward elimination: BIC, forward selection: BIC, and backward elimination: LRT) of the selected variables being significant (95 % confidence interval for coefficient did not include zero). Adaptive elastic net demonstrated improved stability and more conservative estimates of coefficients and standard errors compared to stepwise. By incorporating model uncertainty into subset selection and estimation of coefficients and their standard deviations, BMA returned a parsimonious model with the most conservative results in terms of covariates significance.

Conclusions: BMA and adaptive elastic net performed best in our analysis. Based on our results and previous theoretical studies the use of stepwise methods in medical and epidemiological research may be outperformed by alternative methods in cases such as ours. In situations of high uncertainty it is beneficial to apply different methodologically sound subset selection methods, and explore where their outputs do and do not agree. We recommend that researchers, at a minimum, should explore model uncertainty and stability as part of their analyses, and report these details in epidemiological papers.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus