Extended multivariate generalised linear and non-linear mixed effects models


Multivariate data occurs in a wide range of fields, with ever more flexible model specifications being proposed, often within a multivariate generalised linear mixed effects (MGLME) framework. In this article, we describe an extended framework, encompassing multiple outcomes of any type, each of which could be repeatedly measured (longitudinal), with any number of levels, and with any number of random effects at each level. Many standard distributions are described, as well as non-standard user-defined non-linear models. The extension focuses on a complex linear predictor for each outcome model, allowing sharing and linking between outcome models in an extremely flexible way, either by linking random effects directly, or the expected value of one outcome (or function of it) within the linear predictor of another. Non-linear and time-dependent effects are also seamlessly incorporated to the linear predictor through the use of splines or fractional polynomials. We further propose level-specific random effect distributions and numerical integration techniques to improve usability, relaxing the normally distributed random effects assumption to allow multivariate $t$-distributed random effects. We consider some special cases of the general framework, describing some new models in the fields of clustered survival data, joint longitudinal-survival models, and discuss various potential uses of the implementation. User friendly, and easily extendable, software is provided.