Evaluating latent class models with conditional dependence in record linkage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Record linkage methods commonly use a traditional latent class model to classify record pairs from different sources as true matches or non-matches. This approach was first formally described by Fellegi and Sunter and assumes that the agreement in fields is independent conditional on the latent class. Consequences of violating the conditional independence assumption include bias in parameter estimates from the model.We sought to further characterize the impact of conditional dependence on the overall misclassification rate, sensitivity, and positive predictive value in the record linkage problem when the conditional independence assumption is violated. Additionally, we evaluate various methods to account for the conditional dependence. These methods include loglinear models with appropriate interaction terms identified through the correlation residual plot as well as Gaussian random effects models. The proposed models are used to link newborn screening data obtained from a health information exchange. On the basis of simulations, loglinear models with interaction terms demonstrated the best misclassification rate, although this type of model cannot accommodate other data features such as continuous measures for agreement. Results indicate that Gaussian random effects models, which can handle additional data features, perform better than assuming conditional independence and in some situations perform as well as the loglinear model with interaction terms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4250-4265
Number of pages16
JournalStatistics in Medicine
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Latent class
  • Loglinear model
  • Random effects
  • Record linkage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Medicine(all)

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