During my analysis that I perform with a collaborator we get consistently different ouputs in cox regression between R and SPSS. Betas and p-values differ minutely, usually somewhere in the third or fourth decimal, though sometimes more. This occurs both for factors and continuous variables, so it does not appear to be a rounding issue in covariates.

In essence the entire database is prepared in SPSS, which includes calculation of follow-up. The file is then loaded into R via get.spps in HMISC. The follow-up does not consist of whole numbers (for days), could it be that one of the software packages rounds follow-up to whole numbers? Or are the methods calculation different? We use SPSS version 22, and 3.12 with coxph() from the survival package.

Did anyone encounter something similar?


Ah, I found the answer, it has to do with the method with which ties in follow-up duration are evaluated. SPSS uses the Breslow method, whereas R uses the Efron approximation.

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    $\begingroup$ You can specify the choice of tie-handling method in R if you wish. $\endgroup$ – EdM Aug 28 '15 at 14:11

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