Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Richard J. Kryscio


Continuous-time multi-state models are widely used in modeling longitudinal data of disease processes with multiple transient states, yet the analysis is complex when subjects are observed periodically, resulting in interval censored data. Recently, most studies focused on modeling the true disease progression as a discrete time stationary Markov chain, and only a few studies have been carried out regarding non-homogenous multi-state models in the presence of interval-censored data. In this dissertation, several likelihood-based methodologies were proposed to deal with interval censored data in multi-state models.

Firstly, a continuous time version of a homogenous Markov multi-state model with backward transitions was proposed to handle uneven follow-up assessments or skipped visits, resulting in the interval censored data. Simulations were used to compare the performance of the proposed model with the traditional discrete time stationary Markov chain under different types of observation schemes. We applied these two methods to the well-known Nun study, a longitudinal study of 672 participants aged ≥ 75 years at baseline and followed longitudinally with up to ten cognitive assessments per participant.

Secondly, we constructed a non-homogenous Markov model for this type of panel data. The baseline intensity was assumed to be Weibull distributed to accommodate the non-homogenous property. The proportional hazards method was used to incorporate risk factors into the transition intensities. Simulation studies showed that the Weibull assumption does not affect the accuracy of the parameter estimates for the risk factors. We applied our model to data from the BRAiNS study, a longitudinal cohort of 531 subjects each cognitively intact at baseline.

Last, we presented a parametric method of fitting semi-Markov models based on Weibull transition intensities with interval censored cognitive data with death as a competing risk. We relaxed the Markov assumption and took interval censoring into account by integrating out all possible unobserved transitions. The proposed model also allowed for incorporating time-dependent covariates. We provided a goodness-of-fit assessment for the proposed model by the means of prevalence counts. To illustrate the methods, we applied our model to the BRAiNS study.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)