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A zero-augmented gamma mixed model for longitudinal data with many zeros

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In many occupational safety interventions, the objective is to reduce the injury incidence as well as the mean claims cost once injury has occurred. The claims cost data within a period typically contain a large proportion of zero observations (no claim). The distribution thus comprises a point mass at 0 mixed with a non-degenerate parametric component. Essentially, the likelihood function can be factorized into two orthogonal components. These two components relate respectively to the effect of covariates on the incidence of claims and the magnitude of claims, given that claims are made. Furthermore, the longitudinal nature of the intervention inherently imposes some correlation among the observations. This paper introduces a zero-augmented gamma random effects model for analysing longitudinal data with many zeros. Adopting the generalized linear mixed model (GLMM) approach reduces the original problem to the fitting of two independent GLMMs. The method is applied to evaluate the effectiveness of a workplace risk assessment teams program, trialled within the cleaning services of a Western Australian public hospital.
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Keywords: BLUP; GLMM; REML; claims cost; gamma distribution; logistic regression; occupational health

Document Type: Original Article

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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