Marginal structural models (MSM) provide a powerful tool for estimating the causal effect of a] treatment variable or risk variable on the distribution of a disease in a population. These models, as originally introduced by Robins (e.g., Robins (2000a), Robins (2000b), van der Laan and Robins (2002)), model the marginal distributions of treatment-specific counterfactual outcomes, possibly conditional on a subset of the baseline covariates, and its dependence on treatment. Marginal structural models are particularly useful in the context of longitudinal data structures, in which each subject's treatment and covariate history are measured over time, and an outcome is recorded at a final time point. In addition to the simpler, weighted regression approaches (inverse probability of treatment weighted estimators), more general (and robust) estimators have been developed and studied in detail for standard MSM (Robins (2000b), Neugebauer and van der Laan (2004), Yu and van der Laan (2003), van der Laan and Robins (2002)). In this paper we argue that in many applications one is interested in modeling the difference between a treatment-specific counterfactual population distribution and the actual population distribution of the target population of interest. Relevant parameters describe the effect of a hypothetical intervention on such a population, and therefore we refer to these models as intervention models. We focus on intervention models estimating the effect on an intervention in terms of a difference of means, ratio in means (e.g., relative risk if the outcome is binary), a so called switch relative risk for binary outcomes, and difference in entire distributions as measured by the quantile-quantile function. In addition, we provide a class of inverse probability of treatment weighed estimators, and double robust estimators of the causal parameters in these models. We illustrate the finite sample performance of these new estimators in a simulation study.


Biostatistics | Epidemiology | Statistical Methodology | Statistical Models | Statistical Theory