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Ann Intern Med. 2002 Jan 15;136(2):122-6.

Reporting on statistical methods to adjust for confounding: a cross-sectional survey.

Author information

1
Universitätsklinik für Notfallmedizin, Allgemeines Krankenhaus Wien, Währinger Gürtel 18-20/6D, A-1090 Vienna, Austria. marcus.muellner@univie.ac.at.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The use of complex statistical models to adjust for confounding is common in medical research.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the frequency and adequacy of adjustment for confounding in medical articles.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional survey.

SETTING:

34 scientific medical journals with a high impact factor.

MEASUREMENTS:

Frequency of reporting on methods used to adjust for confounding in 537 original research articles published in January 1998.

RESULTS:

Of the 537 articles, 169 specified that adjustment for confounding was used. In 1 paper in 10, it was unclear which statistical method was used or for which variables adjustment was made. In 45% of papers, it was not clear how multicategory or continuous variables were treated in the analysis. Inadequate reporting was less frequent if an author was affiliated with a department of statistics, epidemiology, or public health and if articles were published in journals with a high impact factor.

CONCLUSIONS:

Details of methods used to adjust for confounding are frequently not reported in original research articles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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