I am currently doing a study on bankruptcies in Europe. I am using the Cox proportional hazards model (time-constant version) in R (coxph).

I have analyzed covariates such as GDP growth, return on assets, etc., in order to determine which covariates are statistically significant (p < 0.05).

Now I want to combine covariates in order to "create". Just like with multiple regression, I can compute the R-squared in order to assess the goodness-of-fit. (Please note that I will only combine covariates where the covariates are statistically significant (p < 0.05).)

My question is: How do I compare combinations of covariates in order to determine the goodness-of-fit?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Can you clarify what "create" refers to and whether you are calculating the R^2 from the Cox model directly or perhaps from its predictions vs. observed data? $\endgroup$
    – Todd D
    Jun 7, 2017 at 15:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Perhaps superfluous, but keep in mind that the pseudo-$R^2$ values you obtain do not admit the nice interpretation they have for the linear model. $\endgroup$
    – Nelewout
    Jun 7, 2017 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


If I understand you correctly, you have a Cox proportional hazards model, and you want to test a group of variables simultaneously.

A Cox model will have a likelihood associated with it, so you can compute the deviance and conduct an analysis of deviance test of nested models. That is, you can fit a model without the variables you want to test and see if the deviance is reduced by an amount greater than might be expected due to chance. Here is a simple example, coded in R:

fit  = coxph(Surv(futime, fustat)~resid.ds+rx+ecog.ps, data=ovarian) 
fit2 = coxph(Surv(futime, fustat)~resid.ds,            data=ovarian)  # - rx & ecog.ps
# summary(fit)
# summary(fit2)
logLik(fit)   # 'log Lik.' -31.96961 (df=3)  # deviance is -2 x log likelihood
logLik(fit2)  # 'log Lik.' -33.10526 (df=1)
1-pchisq( (-2*logLik(fit2))-(-2*logLik(fit)), df=(3-1) )  # 0.321214
anova(fit2, fit, test="Chisq")
# Analysis of Deviance Table
#  Cox model: response is  Surv(futime, fustat)
#  Model 1: ~ resid.ds
#  Model 2: ~ resid.ds + rx + ecog.ps
#    loglik  Chisq Df P(>|Chi|)
# 1 -33.105                    
# 2 -31.970 2.2713  2    0.3212

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