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Concept: Propensity score

205

Previous research suggests a link between the quality of teacher-student relationships and the students' behavioral outcomes; however, the observational nature of past studies makes it difficult to attribute a causal role to the quality of these relationships. In the current study, therefore, we used a propensity score analysis approach to evaluate whether students who were matched on their propensity to experience a given level of relationship quality but differed on their actual relationship quality diverged on their concurrent and subsequent problem and prosocial behavior. Student/self, teacher, and parent- (only waves 1-3) reported data from 8 waves of the Zurich Project on the Social Development of Children and Youths (z-proso), a longitudinal study of Swiss youth among a culturally diverse sample of 7- to 15-year-olds were utilized. The initial sample included 1483 (49.4 % female) students for whom information relevant for this study was available. The sample represented families from around 80 different countries, from across all the continents; with approximately 42 % of the female primary caregivers having been born in Switzerland. Following successful matching, we found that students who reported better relationships with their teachers and whose teachers reported better relationships with them evidenced fewer problem behaviors concurrently and up to 4 years later. There was also evidence for an analogous effect in predicting prosocial behavior. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to prevention and intervention practices.

Concepts: Causality, Longitudinal study, Switzerland, Psychology, Human behavior, Propensity score, Behavior, Sociology

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Objectives To study the association between maternal use of antidepressants during pregnancy and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in offspring.Design Observational prospective cohort study with regression methods, propensity score matching, sibling controls, and negative control comparison.Setting Stockholm County, Sweden.Participants 254 610 individuals aged 4-17, including 5378 with autism, living in Stockholm County in 2001-11 who were born to mothers who did not take antidepressants and did not have any psychiatric disorder, mothers who took antidepressants during pregnancy, or mothers with psychiatric disorders who did not take antidepressants during pregnancy. Maternal antidepressant use was recorded during first antenatal interview or determined from prescription records.Main outcome measure Offspring diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, with and without intellectual disability.Results Of the 3342 children exposed to antidepressants during pregnancy, 4.1% (n=136) had a diagnosis of autism compared with a 2.9% prevalence (n=353) in 12 325 children not exposed to antidepressants whose mothers had a history of a psychiatric disorder (adjusted odds ratio 1.45, 95% confidence interval 1.13 to 1.85). Propensity score analysis led to similar results. The results of a sibling control analysis were in the same direction, although with wider confidence intervals. In a negative control comparison, there was no evidence of any increased risk of autism in children whose fathers were prescribed antidepressants during the mothers' pregnancy (1.13, 0.68 to 1.88). In all analyses, the risk increase concerned only autism without intellectual disability.Conclusions The association between antidepressant use during pregnancy and autism, particularly autism without intellectual disability, might not solely be a byproduct of confounding. Study of the potential underlying biological mechanisms could help the understanding of modifiable mechanisms in the aetiology of autism. Importantly, the absolute risk of autism was small, and, hypothetically, if no pregnant women took antidepressants, the number of cases that could potentially be prevented would be small.

Concepts: Asperger syndrome, Psychiatric medication, Propensity score, Pregnancy, Statistical terminology, Autism spectrum, Mental disorder, Autism

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There is mixed evidence from correlational studies that breastfeeding impacts children’s development. Propensity score matching with large samples can be an effective tool to remove potential bias from observed confounders in correlational studies. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of breastfeeding on children’s cognitive and noncognitive development at 3 and 5 years of age.

Concepts: Experimental design, Econometrics, Child development, Childhood, Propensity score

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OBJECTIVE:: In a large nationwide administrative database of hospitalized patients, we investigated postoperative outcomes after laparoscopic or open distal gastrectomy in Japan. BACKGROUND:: The benefits of laparoscopic gastrectomy, such as decreased length of stay and morbidity, have typically been evaluated only with limited data on the basis of small samples. METHODS:: Using the Japanese Diagnosis Procedure Combination Database, we identified 9388 patients who were preoperatively diagnosed with stage I and II gastric cancer and underwent laparoscopic (n = 3937) or open (n = 5451) distal gastrectomy between July and December 2010. One-to-one propensity score matching was performed to compare in-hospital mortality, postoperative complication rates, length of stay, total costs, and 30-day readmission rates between the 2 groups. RESULTS:: Patients with younger age, lower comorbidity index, or stage I cancer were more likely to receive laparoscopic gastrectomy. In the propensity-matched analysis with 2473 pairs, the laparoscopic gastrectomy group in comparison with the open gastrectomy group showed a slight reduction in median postoperative length of stay (13 days vs 15 days, P < 0.001) but a slight increase in median total costs (US $21,510 vs $21,024, P = 0.002). There were no significant differences in in-hospital mortality (0.36% vs 0.28%, P = 0.80), overall postoperative complications (12.9% vs 12.6%, P = 0.73), or 30-day readmission rates (3.2% vs 3.2%, P = 0.94). CONCLUSIONS:: In this large nationwide cohort of patients with early-stage gastric cancer, laparoscopic gastrectomy was associated with a statistically significant but slight reduction in postoperative length of stay, but no differences between laparoscopic gastrectomy and open gastrectomy were detected in terms of early mortality and morbidity.

Concepts: Propensity score matching, Cancer, Stomach, Comorbidity, Actuarial science, Propensity score, Cancer staging, Statistical significance

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PURPOSE: Heart failure (CHF) guidelines recommend mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists for all symptomatic patients treated with a combination of ACE inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and beta-blockers. As opposed to both eplerenone trials, patients in RALES (spironolactone) received almost no beta-blockers. Since pharmacological properties differ between eplerenone and spironolactone, the prognostic benefit of spironolactone added to this baseline combination therapy needs clarification. METHODS: We included 4,832 CHF patients with chronic systolic dysfunction from the Norwegian Heart Failure Registry and the heart failure outpatients' clinic of the University of Heidelberg. Propensity scores for spironolactone receipt were calculated for each patient and used for matching to patients without spironolactone. RESULTS: During a total follow-up of 17,869 patient-years, 881 patients (27.0 %) died in the non-spironolactone group and 445 (28.4 %) in the spironolactone group. Spironolactone was not associated with improved survival, neither in the complete sample (HR 0.82; 95 % CI 0.64-1.07; HR 1.03; 95 % CI 0.88-1.20; multivariate and propensity score adjusted respectively), nor in the propensity-matched cohort (HR 0.98; 95 % CI 0.82-1.18). CONCLUSION: In CHF outpatients we were unable to observe an association between the use of spironolactone and improved survival when administered in addition to a combination of ACE/ARB and beta-blockers.

Concepts: Cardiology, Receptor antagonist, Propensity score, Hypertension, Mineralocorticoid receptor, Heart failure, Ejection fraction, Myocardial infarction

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The objective of this retrospective study was to assess perioperative outcomes, overall survival and freedom from recurrence after induction chemotherapy followed by extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) or pleurectomy/decortication (P/D) in patients with mesothelioma in a propensity score matched analysis.

Concepts: Cancer, Propensity score

11

In industrial and organizational psychology, there is a long tradition of studying personality as an antecedent of work outcomes. Recently, however, scholars have suggested that personality characteristics may not only predict, but also change due to certain work experiences, a notion that is depicted in the dynamic developmental model (DDM) of personality and work. Upward job changes are an important part of employees' careers and career success in particular, and we argue that these career transitions can shape personality over time. In this study, we investigate the Big Five personality characteristics as both predictors and outcomes of upward job changes into managerial and professional positions. We tested our hypotheses by applying event history analyses and propensity score matching to a longitudinal dataset collected over five years from employees in Australia. Results indicated that participants' openness to experience not only predicted, but that changes in openness to experience also followed from upward job changes into managerial and professional positions. Our findings thus provide support for a dynamic perspective on personality characteristics in the context of work and careers.

Concepts: Personality psychology, Employment, Trait theory, Propensity score, Openness to experience, Prediction, Scientific method, Big Five personality traits

10

IMPORTANCE Although clinical practice guidelines recommend combination therapy with macrolides, including azithromycin, as first-line therapy for patients hospitalized with pneumonia, recent research suggests that azithromycin may be associated with increased cardiovascular events. OBJECTIVE To examine the association of azithromycin use with all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events for patients hospitalized with pneumonia. DESIGN Retrospective cohort study comparing older patients hospitalized with pneumonia from fiscal years 2002 through 2012 prescribed azithromycin therapy and patients receiving other guideline-concordant antibiotic therapy. SETTING This study was conducted using national Department of Veterans Affairs administrative data of patients hospitalized at any Veterans Administration acute care hospital. PARTICIPANTS Patients were included if they were aged 65 years or older, were hospitalized with pneumonia, and received antibiotic therapy concordant with national clinical practice guidelines. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Outcomes included 30- and 90-day all-cause mortality and 90-day cardiac arrhythmias, heart failure, myocardial infarction, and any cardiac event. Propensity score matching was used to control for the possible effects of known confounders with conditional logistic regression. RESULTS Of 73 690 patients from 118 hospitals identified, propensity-matched groups were composed of 31 863 patients exposed to azithromycin and 31 863 matched patients who were not exposed. There were no significant differences in potential confounders between groups after matching. Ninety-day mortality was significantly lower in those who received azithromycin (exposed, 17.4%, vs unexposed, 22.3%; odds ratio [OR], 0.73; 95% CI, 0.70-0.76). However, we found significantly increased odds of myocardial infarction (5.1% vs 4.4%; OR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.08-1.25) but not any cardiac event (43.0% vs 42.7%; OR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.98-1.05), cardiac arrhythmias (25.8% vs 26.0%; OR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.95-1.02), or heart failure (26.3% vs 26.2%; OR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.97-1.04). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Among older patients hospitalized with pneumonia, treatment that included azithromycin compared with other antibiotics was associated with a lower risk of 90-day mortality and a smaller increased risk of myocardial infarction. These findings are consistent with a net benefit associated with azithromycin use.

Concepts: Antibiotic, Propensity score, Clinical trial, Circulatory system, Heart, Cardiac arrest, Cohort study, Myocardial infarction

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BACKGROUND: In 2011, Cameroon and its health partners distributed over eight million free long-lasting insecticide treated nets (LLINs) in an effort to reduce the significant morbidity and mortality burden of malaria in the country. A national communications campaign was launched in July 2011 to ensure that as the nets were delivered, they would be used consistently to close a net use gap: only 51.6% of adults and 63.4% of their children in households with at least one net were sleeping under nets before the distribution. Even in households with at least one net for every two people, over 35% of adults were not sleeping under a net. Malaria No More (MNM) adapted its signature NightWatch communications programme to fit within the coordinated “KO Palu” (Knock Out Malaria) national campaign. This study evaluates the impact of KO Palu NightWatch activities (that is, the subset of KO Palu-branded communications that were funded by MNM’s NightWatch program) on bed net use. METHODS: Using national survey data collected at baseline (in March/April 2011, before the national LLIN distribution and KO Palu NightWatch launch) and post-intervention (March/April 2012), this study evaluates the impact of exposure to KO Palu NightWatch activities on last-night net use by Cameroonian adults and their children under five. First, a plausible case for causality was established by comparing net use in 2011 and 2012 and measuring exposure to KO Palu NightWatch; next, a propensity score matching (PSM) model was used to estimate the impact of exposure on net use by simulating a randomized control trial; finally, the model was tested for sensitivity to unmeasured factors. RESULTS: The PSM model estimated that among Cameroonians with at least one net in their household, exposure to KO Palu NightWatch activities was associated with a 6.6 percentage point increase in last-night net use among respondents (65.7% vs 59.1%, p < 0.05) and a 12.0 percentage point increase in last-night net use among respondents' children under five (79.6% vs 67.6%, p < 0.025). Sensitivity analysis suggests only a very small risk of bias from omitted factors influencing exposure and net use. CONCLUSIONS: Extrapolating the results of the PSM model to the population of Cameroonians with access to at least one mosquito net, this analysis estimates that approximately 298,000 adults and over 221,000 of their children under five slept under a bed net because of the knowledge, motivation, and/or timely reminder provided by KO Palu NightWatch activities. The programme cost less than $0.16 per adult reached, and less than $1.62 per additional person protected by a net. The results suggest a strong role for mass media communication interventions in support of investments in malaria control commodities such as LLINs.

Concepts: Insect repellent, Knockout, Yellow fever, Mosquito net, Propensity score, Mosquito, Mass media, Malaria

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Family-Link is a videoconferencing program that allows hospitalized children and their parents to virtually visit family members and friends using laptops, webcams, and a secure Wi-Fi connection. We evaluated the association of Family-Link use on the reduction in stress experienced by children during hospitalization.METHODS: We offered Family-Link to pediatric patients who had an expected length of hospitalization equal to or greater than 4 days. We measured the stress levels of hospitalized children at admission and discharge using the previously published Parental Stress Survey. We used propensity score matching and multivariable linear regression methods to evaluate the relationship between the use of Family-Link and stress experienced by children during hospitalization.RESULTS: We included a total of 367 children in the study: 232 Family-Link users and 135 non-Family-Link users. Using the propensity score matching method, we found that the use of Family-Link was significantly associated with a greater reduction in overall mean stress compared with non-Family-Link users among the cohort of patients who lived closer to the hospital and had shorter lengths of hospitalization (β = 0.23; 95% confidence interval, 0.03 to 0.43; P < .05). In this cohort, the reduction in overall mean stress was 37% greater among Family-Link users than non-Family-Link users.CONCLUSIONS: The use of videoconferencing by some hospitalized children and families to conduct virtual visits with family and friends outside of the hospital was associated with a greater reduction in stress during hospitalization than those who did not use videoconferencing.

Concepts: Statistics, Statistical terminology, Physician, Equality, Propensity score, Econometrics, Regression analysis, Hospital