Improving statistical analysis of matched case–control studies

Authors

  • Aaron Conway,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine (QLD), Australian Catholic University, Also Cardiac Catheter Theatres, The Wesley Hospital, Brisbane, Qld., Australia
    • School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine (QLD), Australian Catholic University, Also Cardiac Catheter Theatres, The Wesley Hospital, Brisbane, Qld., Australia
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    • PhD Candidate.

  • John X. Rolley,

    1. Cardiology Investigation Unit, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Also Cardiovascular Research Centre (CvRC), Australian Catholic University/St Vincent's Hospital & University of Melbourne, Fitzroy, Vic., Australia
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    • Research Fellow.

  • Paul Fulbrook,

    1. National Centre for Clinical Outcomes Research, School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedicine (QLD), Australian Catholic University, Also Director, Nursing Research and Practice Development Unit, The Prince Charles Hospital, Chermside, QLD, Australia
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    • Professor of Nursing and Deputy Director.

  • Karen Page,

    1. Heart Foundation, Melbourne, Vic., Australia
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    • Manager of Clinical Care Engagement.

  • David R. Thompson

    1. Cardiovascular Research Centre (CvRC), Australian Catholic University/St Vincent's Hospital & University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic., Australia
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    • Professor of Nursing.


Abstract

Matched case–control research designs can be useful because matching can increase power due to reduced variability between subjects. However, inappropriate statistical analysis of matched data could result in a change in the strength of association between the dependent and independent variables or a change in the significance of the findings. We sought to ascertain whether matched case–control studies published in the nursing literature utilized appropriate statistical analyses. Of 41 articles identified that met the inclusion criteria, 31 (76%) used an inappropriate statistical test for comparing data derived from case subjects and their matched controls. In response to this finding, we developed an algorithm to support decision-making regarding statistical tests for matched case–control studies. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 36:320–324, 2013

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