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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 61  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 21-25

Methodology series module 1: Cohort studies

Department of Epidemiology, MGM Institute of Health Sciences, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Maninder Singh Setia
MGM Institute of Health Sciences, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.174011

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Cohort design is a type of nonexperimental or observational study design. In a cohort study, the participants do not have the outcome of interest to begin with. They are selected based on the exposure status of the individual. They are then followed over time to evaluate for the occurrence of the outcome of interest. Some examples of cohort studies are (1) Framingham Cohort study, (2) Swiss HIV Cohort study, and (3) The Danish Cohort study of psoriasis and depression. These studies may be prospective, retrospective, or a combination of both of these types. Since at the time of entry into the cohort study, the individuals do not have outcome, the temporality between exposure and outcome is well defined in a cohort design. If the exposure is rare, then a cohort design is an efficient method to study the relation between exposure and outcomes. A retrospective cohort study can be completed fast and is relatively inexpensive compared with a prospective cohort study. Follow-up of the study participants is very important in a cohort study, and losses are an important source of bias in these types of studies. These studies are used to estimate the cumulative incidence and incidence rate. One of the main strengths of a cohort study is the longitudinal nature of the data. Some of the variables in the data will be time-varying and some may be time independent. Thus, advanced modeling techniques (such as fixed and random effects models) are useful in analysis of these studies.

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