Including a time-of-year effect in the analysis of a matched case-control study
Stallard, N. and Tombs, L. (2004) Including a time-of-year effect in the analysis of a matched case-control study. Statistics in Medicine, 23 (20). pp. 3193-3207. ISSN 0277-6715
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1002/sim.1884
Motivated by a matched case-control study to investigate potential risk factors for meningococcal disease amongst adolescents, we consider the analysis of matched case-control studies where disease incidence, and possibly other risk factors, vary with time of year. For the cases, the time of infection may be recorded. For controls, however, the recorded time is simply the time of data collection, which is shortly after the time of infection for the matched case, and so depends on the latter. We show that the effect of risk factors and interactions may be adjusted for the time of year effect in a standard conditional logistic regression analysis without introducing any bias. We also show that, if the time delay between data collection for cases and controls is constant, provided this delay is not very short, estimates of the time of year effect are approximately unbiased. In the case that the length of the delay varies over time, the estimate of the time of year effect is biased. We obtain an approximate expression for the degree of bias in this case. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.