[R-meta] Q-Statistic for Between-Subgroup Heterogeneity

Ty Beal tbe@l @ending from g@inhe@lth@org
Wed Jul 25 17:41:01 CEST 2018


I read through Wolfgang's post here: http://www.metafor-project.org/doku.php/tips:multiple_factors_interactions

I realized that when I changed the reference level to a different region, the QM statistic and P-value remains the same. The only thing that changes is the coefficients.

I am still not sure what is being tested when I do the subgroup - 1, but I think it is not appropriate for my problem.

Additionally, after reading Wolfgang's other post (http://www.metafor-project.org/doku.php/tips:comp_two_independent_estimates), I am now using rma.mv to allow a different tau^2 in each of the five regions.

I was trying to decide whether or not to pool tau^2 and it's certainly ideal to not pool in this context, since I except the variance between regions to be different. I read general advice that calculating a separate tau^2 for each subgroup is not recommended if the subgroup contains 5 or less studies (https://www.meta-analysis.com/downloads/Meta-analysis%20Subgroups%20analysis.pdf). For two out of four questions (there will be 4 meta-analyses in total) one of the regions only has 5 studies. Does anyone know whether it would it be better to pool estimates of tau^2 or not?


On 7/24/18, 9:07 PM, "Ty Beal" <tbeal using gainhealth.org> wrote:

    Dear Wolfgang,

    Thanks for the tips. I am still getting used to the mailing list. I read through the thread and still have a couple questions, which will require me to explain my analysis in more detail.

    I am conducting a meta-analysis of prevalence for four dietary questions based on frequency of consumption. For example, the first question is coded so that I am calculating the prevalence that individuals consume fruit less than once per day. My data include 72 countries with nationally representative data that are weighted according to a complex survey design. This requires me to use the survey package to calculate the prevalence and SE/CIs for each of the 72 countries.

    I have done the meta-analysis for all the studies together and calculated an I^2 statistic. Now I am making a forest plot of subgroups (5 regions--and later also by sex). I would like to present some measure of between subgroup heterogeneity, but I am not sure the best approach to take. I had been using the following code to obtain a Q-statistic:

    fruit_res_r <- rma(yi, vi, method="DL", mods = ~ factor(region), data=fruit)

    But after reading the post that Wolfgang added, I realized that I am comparing the first region as the reference level. When I use factor(region) - 1, it produces much higher Q-statistics and lower P-values. I just want to be sure this is the best approach for this context.


    On 7/24/18, 5:58 PM, "Viechtbauer, Wolfgang (SP)" <wolfgang.viechtbauer using maastrichtuniversity.nl> wrote:

        Dear Ty,

        Please always CC the mailing list.

        And please re-read the posts under the link I posted (i.e., the entire thread). In particular, this one is most relevant:


        It shows how to fit a model with different tau^2 values per subgroup using metafor. See also:



        -----Original Message-----
        From: Ty Beal [mailto:tbeal using gainhealth.org]
        Sent: Tuesday, 24 July, 2018 17:18
        To: Viechtbauer, Wolfgang (SP)
        Subject: RE: [R-meta] Q-Statistic for Between-Subgroup Heterogeneity

        Dear Wolfgang,

        If you do end up updating metafor to allow different between-subgroup heterogeneity, please let me know (if you remember). I may want to re-run the analysis to see how big of a difference it makes in uncertainty estimates.


        -----Original Message-----
        From: R-sig-meta-analysis <r-sig-meta-analysis-bounces using r-project.org> On Behalf Of Viechtbauer, Wolfgang (SP)
        Sent: Monday, July 16, 2018 8:22 AM
        To: r-sig-meta-analysis using r-project.org
        Subject: Re: [R-meta] Q-Statistic for Between-Subgroup Heterogeneity

        Good point. This was discussed before (for metagen(), but it's the same issue):



        -----Original Message-----
        From: R-sig-meta-analysis [mailto:r-sig-meta-analysis-bounces using r-project.org] On Behalf Of Guido Schwarzer
        Sent: Monday, 16 July, 2018 13:13
        To: r-sig-meta-analysis using r-project.org
        Subject: Re: [R-meta] Q-Statistic for Between-Subgroup Heterogeneity

        Am 13.07.18 um 18:31 schrieb Viechtbauer, Wolfgang (SP):

        > [...]
        > In the output, you will find:
        > Test of Moderators (coefficients 2:3):
        > QM(df = 2) = 1.7675, p-val = 0.4132
        > This is the test for between-subgroup heterogeneity.

        ... assuming a common between-study variance tau2 across subgroups. The default in metaprop() of meta is to allow different between-study variances (analogous to RevMan 5, the software for Cochrane Reviews).
        However, this can be changed using argument 'tau.common = TRUE' in metaprop().

        As stated by Ty, metaprop() does not allow to specify the weights at the moment. I put this on my TODO list.

        Best wishes,



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