The panel study design is commonly used to evaluate the short-term health effects of air pollution. Standard statistical methods for analyzing longitudinal data are available, but the literature reveals that the techniques are not well understood by practitioners. We illustrate these methods using data from the 1999 to 2002 Seattle panel study. Marginal, conditional, and transitional approaches for modeling longitudinal data are reviewed and contrasted with respect to their parameter interpretation and methods for accounting for correlation and dealing with missing data. We also discuss and illustrate techniques for controlling for time-dependent and time-independent confounding, and for exploring and summarizing panel study data. Notes on available software are included in the appendix.


Epidemiology | Longitudinal Data Analysis and Time Series | Statistical Models