Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Bassam A. Dahman

Second Advisor

Roy T. Sabo

Third Advisor

Nitai D. Mukhopadhyay

Fourth Advisor

Qiqi Lu

Fifth Advisor

Sarah Hartigan


Propensity score methods (PSM) that have been widely used to reduce selection bias in observational studies are restricted to a binary treatment. Imai and van Dyk extended PSM to estimate non-binary treatment effect using stratification with P-Function, and generalized inverse treatment probability weighting (GIPTW). However, propensity score (PS) matching methods on multiple treatments received little attention, and existing generalized PSMs merely focused on estimates of main treatment effects but omitted potential interaction effects that are of essential interest in many studies. In this dissertation, I extend Rubin’s PS matching theory to general treatment regimens under the P-Function framework. From theory to practice, I propose an innovative distance measure that can summarize similarities among subjects in multiple treatment groups. Based on this distance measure I propose four generalized propensity score matching methodologies. The first two methods are extensions of nearest neighbor matching. I implemented Monte Carlo simulation studies to compare them with GIPTW and stratification on P-Function methods. The next two methods are extensions of the nearest neighbor caliper width matching and variable matching. I define the caliper width as the product of a weighted standard deviation of all possible pairwise distances between two treatment groups. I conduct a series of simulation studies to determine an optimal caliper width by searching the lowest mean square error of average causal interaction effect. I further compare the ones with optimal caliper width with other methods using simulations. Finally, I apply these methods to the National Medical Expenditure Survey data to examine the average causal main effect of duration and frequency of smoking as well as their interaction effect on annual medical expenditures. Using proposed methods, researchers can apply regression models with specified interaction terms to the matched data and simultaneously obtain both main and interaction effects estimate with improved statistical properties.


© Zirui Gu

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