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YSPH Biostatistics Seminar- "A Causal Approach to Functional Mediation Analysis with Application to a Smoking Cessation Intervention"

NOTE: BIS 526 students are required to attend in person (47 College St., Room 106A). All others are requested to attend via Zoom.

Speaker- Donna L. Coffman, Ph.D.

Title- "A causal approach to functional mediation analysis with application to a smoking cessation intervention"


The increase in the use of mobile and wearable devices now allow dense assessment of mediating processes over time. For example, a pharmacological intervention may have an effect on smoking cessation via reductions in momentary withdrawal symptoms. We define and identify the causal direct and indirect effects in terms of potential outcomes on the mean difference and odds ratio scales and present a method for estimating and testing the indirect effect of a randomized treatment on a distal binary variable as mediated by the nonparametric trajectory of an intensively measured longitudinal variable (e.g., from ecological momentary assessment). Coverage of a bootstrap test for the indirect effect is demonstrated via simulation. An empirical example is presented based on estimating later smoking abstinence from patterns of craving during smoking cessation treatment. We provide an R package, funmediation, to conveniently apply this technique. We conclude by discussing possible extensions to multiple mediators and directions for future research.

The paper on which the talk is based can be found here:


  • Temple University

    Donna L. Coffman
    Associate Professor


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