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BMC Med Res Methodol. 2009 Jul 27;9:56. doi: 10.1186/1471-2288-9-56.

Bias in odds ratios by logistic regression modelling and sample size.

Author information

1
Division of Clinical Cancer Epidemiology, Department of Oncology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. nemes.szilard@oc.gu.se

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In epidemiological studies researchers use logistic regression as an analytical tool to study the association of a binary outcome to a set of possible exposures.

METHODS:

Using a simulation study we illustrate how the analytically derived bias of odds ratios modelling in logistic regression varies as a function of the sample size.

RESULTS:

Logistic regression overestimates odds ratios in studies with small to moderate samples size. The small sample size induced bias is a systematic one, bias away from null. Regression coefficient estimates shifts away from zero, odds ratios from one.

CONCLUSION:

If several small studies are pooled without consideration of the bias introduced by the inherent mathematical properties of the logistic regression model, researchers may be mislead to erroneous interpretation of the results.

PMID:
19635144
PMCID:
PMC2724427
DOI:
10.1186/1471-2288-9-56
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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