Bayesian evidence synthesis in case of multi-cohort datasets: An illustration by multi-informant differences in self-control

Sofieke T. Kevenaar*, Maria A.J. Zondervan-Zwijnenburg, Elisabet Blok, Heiko Schmengler, M. (Ties) Fakkel, Eveline L. de Zeeuw, Elsje van Bergen, N. Charlotte Onland-Moret, Margot Peeters, Manon H.J. Hillegers, Dorret I. Boomsma, Albertine J. Oldehinkel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The trend toward large-scale collaborative studies gives rise to the challenge of combining data from different sources efficiently. Here, we demonstrate how Bayesian evidence synthesis can be used to quantify and compare support for competing hypotheses and to aggregate this support over studies. We applied this method to study the ordering of multi-informant scores on the ASEBA Self Control Scale (ASCS), employing a multi-cohort design with data from four Dutch cohorts. Self-control reports were collected from mothers, fathers, teachers and children themselves. The available set of reporters differed between cohorts, so in each cohort varying components of the overarching hypotheses were evaluated. We found consistent support for the partial hypothesis that parents reported more self-control problems than teachers. Furthermore, the aggregated results indicate most support for the combined hypothesis that children report most problem behaviors, followed by their mothers and fathers, and that teachers report the fewest problems. However, there was considerable inconsistency across cohorts regarding the rank order of children's reports. This article illustrates Bayesian evidence synthesis as a method when some of the cohorts only have data to evaluate a partial hypothesis. With Bayesian evidence synthesis, these cohorts can still contribute to the aggregated results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100904
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Early online date26 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Bayesian evidence synthesis
  • Multiple cohorts
  • Multiple imputation by chained equations (MICE)
  • Multiple informants
  • Self-control

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