The Use of Propensity Scores as a Matching Strategy Academic Article uri icon

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  • Objectives: This study reports on the concept and method of linear propensity scores used to obtain a comparison group from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth to assess the effects of a longitudinal, structured arts program for Canadian youth (aged 9 to 15 years) from low-income, multicultural communities. Method: This study compares 183 children in a community arts project to 183 children from a national longitudinal survey using propensity score matching. The variables included baseline scores of child-rated conduct problems, indirect aggression, emotional problems, self-esteem, and prosocial behavior and child gender, person most knowledgeable (PMK) education, PMK marital status, household income, and family functioning. Results: Mean score comparison showed that the groups were very similar on all covariates. Conclusions: Propensity score matching offers an alternative to true randomization that is cost-effective and convenient, particularly important for social work research in community-based organizations with a limited budget.


  • John, Lindsay
  • Wright, Robin
  • Duku, Eric
  • Willms, J Douglas

publication date

  • January 2008