[R] Multilevel model with dichotomous dependent variable

Andrew Perrin clists at perrin.socsci.unc.edu
Thu May 23 19:34:09 CEST 2002


I'm working with data that are multilevel in nature and have a dichotomous
outcome variable (presence or absence of an attribute). As far as I can
tell from reading archives of the R and S lists, as well as Pinheiro and
Bates and Venables and Ripley,

- nlme does not have the facility to do what amounts to a mixed-effects
logistic regression.
- The canonical alternative is GLMMgibbs, but there are concerns about
this as well.
- There has been some talk of wrappers around nlme that would add PQL (a
technique about which I know nothing) as a way of estimating such

Does this accurately summarize the state of software availability? If not,
what updates should I know about? If so, what would be the costs and
benefits of the following courses of action:

1.) Use nlme, violating the assumption of continuous outcomes, simply
assigning 0 and 1 as the outcome values. (A crude option, but one that has
the distinct advantage of increased comprehensibility to sociologists, the
research's target audience.)

2.) Use glmmGibbs, which introduces some new assumptions and requirements
of the data, but is perhaps the closest to a "correct" approach

3.) Find a PQL implementation and learn enough about the technique to use

Any comments or advice will be much appreciated.

Andrew J Perrin - http://www.unc.edu/~aperrin
Assistant Professor of Sociology, U of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
clists at perrin.socsci.unc.edu * andrew_perrin (at) unc.edu

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