publication . Other literature type . Article . 2004

Regression to the mean: what it is and how to deal with it

Adrian Barnett; Jolieke van der Pols;
Open Access
  • Published: 27 Aug 2004
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
Background Regression to the mean (RTM) is a statistical phenomenon that can make natural variation in repeated data look like real change. It happens when unusually large or small measurements tend to be followed by measurements that are closer to the mean. Methods We give some examples of the phenomenon, and discuss methods to overcome it at the design and analysis stages of a study. Results The effect of RTM in a sample becomes more noticeable with increasing measurement error and when follow-up measurements are only examined on a sub-sample selected using a baseline value. Conclusions RTM is a ubiquitous phenomenon in repeated data and should always be consi...
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