Longitudinal Methodology Series II

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The second seminar in the CLOSER Longitudinal Methodology Series features talks from Bianca De Stavola, Professor of Biostatistics and Director of the LSHTM Centre for Statistical Methodology, and Amanda Sacker, Professor of Lifecourse Studies and Director of the UCL ICLS

About the CLOSER Longitudinal Methodology Series

The aim of the series is to highlight methodological innovations and expertise and in turn facilitate and encourage future collaborations and new research.


Professor Bianca De Stavola

Mediation analysis for life course epidemiology

In diverse fields of empirical research attempts are made to decompose the effect of an exposure on an outcome into its effects via a number of different pathways. Path analysis has a long tradition in dealing with enquiries of this sort, but more recent contributions in the causal inference literature have led to greater understanding of the statistical estimands for these pathway-specific effects, the assumptions under which they can be identified, and statistical methods for doing so.

However the majority of causal inference contributions has focused on settings with no intermediate confounders (i.e. confounders of the mediator-outcome relationship on the causal pathway from the exposure) and considers only partitioning the total effect of an exposure into the components that involve or do not involve a single mediator. These restrictions are very limiting in mediation studies applied to life course epidemiology, where intermediate confounding is the norm, and enquiries involve multiple mediators.

This talk will discuss an example taken from a life course study of eating disorders in girls.

This work is in collaboration with Rhian Daniel (LSHTM), George Ploubidis (IoE) and Nadia Micali (UCL).


Professor Amanda Sacker

Breastfeeding and inflammatory biomarkers: the effect of different propensity score weighting strategies

Using data from the 1958 National Child Development Study, I investigate the relationship between duration of breastfeeding in infancy and inflammatory biomarkers in adult life. An acknowledged issue for research in this area is confounding of the relationship between breastfeeding and health outcomes. Different methods of modelling and applying propensity scores will be discussed and their effects on the results demonstrated.