On the uncertainty of individual prediction because of sampling predictors

Changyu Shen, Xiaochun Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Prediction of an outcome for a given unit based on prediction models built on a training sample plays a major role in many research areas. The uncertainty of the prediction is predominantly characterized by the subject sampling variation in current practice, where prediction models built on hypothetically re-sampled units yield variable predictions for the same unit of interest. It is almost always true that the predictors used to build prediction models are simply a subset of the entirety of factors related to the outcome. Following the frequentist principle, we can account for the variation because of hypothetically re-sampled predictors used to build the prediction models. This is particularly important in medicine where the prediction has important and sometime life-death consequences on a patient's health status. In this article, we discuss some rationale along this line in the context of medicine. We propose a simple approach to estimate the standard error of the prediction that accounts for the variation because of sampling both subjects and predictors under logistic and Cox regression models. A simulation study is presented to support our argument and demonstrate the performance of our method. The concept and method are applied to a real data set.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2016-2030
Number of pages15
JournalStatistics in Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - May 30 2016


  • Conditional distribution
  • Frequentist principle
  • Prediction uncertainty
  • Predictor-sampling variation
  • Subject-sampling variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Statistics and Probability

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