This article presents and investigates performance of a series of robust multivariate nonparametric tests for detection of location shift between two multivariate samples in randomized controlled trials. The tests are built upon robust estimators of distribution locations (medians, Hodges-Lehmann estimators, and an extended U statistic) with both unscaled and scaled versions. The nonparametric tests are robust to outliers and do not assume that the two samples are drawn from multivariate normal distributions. Bootstrap and permutation approaches are introduced for determining the p-values of the proposed test statistics. Simulation studies are conducted and numerical results are reported to examine performance of the proposed statistical tests. The numerical results demonstrate that the robust multivariate nonparametric tests constructed from the Hodges-Lehmann estimators are more efficient than those based on medians and the extended U statistic. The permutation approach can provide a more stringent control of Type I error and is generally more powerful than the bootstrap procedure. The proposed robust nonparametric tests are applied to detect multivariate distributional difference between the intervention and control groups in the Thai Healthy Choices study and examine the intervention effect of a four-session motivational interviewing-based intervention developed in the study to reduce risk behaviors among youth living with HIV.
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