The Bivariate Combined Model for Spatial Data Analysis

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bivariate modelling, disease mapping, overdispersion, correlated gamma random effect, multivariate conditional autoregressive model

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To describe the spatial distribution of diseases, a number of methods have been proposed to model relative risks within areas. Most models use Bayesian hierarchical methods, in which one models both spatially structured and unstructured extra-Poisson variance present in the data. For modelling a single disease, the conditional autoregressive (CAR) convolution model has been very popular. More recently, a combined model was proposed that ‘combines’ ideas from the CAR convolution model and the well-known Poisson-gamma model. The combined model was shown to be a good alternative to the CAR convolution model when there was a large amount of uncorrelated extra-variance in the data. Less solutions exist for modelling two diseases simultaneously or modelling a disease in two sub-populations simultaneously. Furthermore, existing models are typically based on the CAR convolution model. In this paper, a bivariate version of the combined model is proposed in which the unstructured heterogeneity term is split up into terms that are shared and terms that are specific to the disease or subpopulation, while spatial dependency is introduced via a univariate or multivariate Markov random field. The proposed method is illustrated by analysis of disease data in Georgia (USA) and Limburg (Belgium) and in a simulation study. We conclude that the bivariate combined model constitutes an interesting model when two diseases are possibly correlated. As the choice of the preferred model differs between data sets, we suggest to use the new and existing modelling approaches together and to choose the best model via goodness-of-fit statistics. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Statistics in Medicine, v. 35, issue 18, p. 3189-3202