Accounting for recall bias in case-control studies: a causal inference approach

02/21/2021
by   Kwonsang Lee, et al.
0

A case-control study is designed to help determine if an exposure is associated with an outcome. However, since case-control studies are retrospective, they are often subject to recall bias. Recall bias can occur when study subjects do not remember previous events accurately. In this paper, we first define the estimand of interest: the causal odds ratio (COR) for a case-control study. Second, we develop estimation approaches for the COR and present estimates as a function of recall bias. Third, we define a new quantity called the R-factor, which denotes the minimal amount of recall bias that leads to altering the initial conclusion. We show that a failure to account for recall bias can significantly bias estimation of the COR. Finally, we apply the proposed framework to a case-control study of the causal effect of childhood physical abuse on adulthood mental health.

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