Self-selection and bias in a large prospective pregnancy cohort in Norway.
ABSTRACT Self-selection in epidemiological studies may introduce selection bias and influence the validity of study results. To evaluate potential bias due to self-selection in a large prospective pregnancy cohort in Norway, the authors studied differences in prevalence estimates and association measures between study participants and all women giving birth in Norway. Women who agreed to participate in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (43.5% of invited; n = 73 579) were compared with all women giving birth in Norway (n = 398 849) using data from the population-based Medical Birth Registry of Norway in 2000-2006. Bias in the prevalence of 23 exposure and outcome variables was measured as the ratio of relative frequencies, whereas bias in exposure-outcome associations of eight relationships was measured as the ratio of odds ratios. Statistically significant relative differences in prevalence estimates between the cohort participants and the total population were found for all variables, except for maternal epilepsy, chronic hypertension and pre-eclampsia. There was a strong under-representation of the youngest women (<25 years), those living alone, mothers with more than two previous births and with previous stillbirths (relative deviation 30-45%). In addition, smokers, women with stillbirths and neonatal death were markedly under-represented in the cohort (relative deviation 22-43%), while multivitamin and folic acid supplement users were over-represented (relative deviation 31-43%). Despite this, no statistically relative differences in association measures were found between participants and the total population regarding the eight exposure-outcome associations. Using data from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway, this study suggests that prevalence estimates of exposures and outcomes, but not estimates of exposure-outcome associations are biased due to self-selection in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study.
SourceAvailable from: Ann Kristin Knudsen[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Using data from the longitudinal Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, the aims of the current study were to examine associations between postnatal maternal heavy alcohol use and toddler behavior problems, taking both observed and unobserved confounding factors into account by employing fixed effects regression models. Postnatal maternal heavy alcohol use (defined as drinking alcohol 4 or more times a week, or drinking 7 units or more per alcohol use episode) and toddler internalizing and externalizing behavior problems were assessed when the toddlers were aged 18 and 36 months. Maternal psychopathology, civil status and negative life events last year were included as time-variant covariates. Maternal heavy alcohol use was associated with toddler internalizing and externalizing behavior problems (p < 0.001) in the population when examined with generalized estimating equation models. The associations disappeared when observed and unobserved sources of confounding were taken into account in the fixed effects models [(p = 0.909 for externalizing behaviors (b = 0.002, SE = 0.021), p = 0.928 for internalizing behaviors (b = 0.002, SE = 0.023)], with an even further reduction of the estimates with the inclusion of time-variant confounders. No causal effect was found between postnatal maternal heavy alcohol use and toddler behavior problems. Increased levels of behavior problems among toddlers of heavy drinking mothers should therefore be attributed to other adverse characteristics associated with these mothers, toddlers and families. This should be taken into account when interventions aimed at at-risk families identified by maternal heavy alcohol use are planned and conducted.European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 01/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00787-015-0677-5 · 3.70 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background: Maternal smoking during pregnancy (MSDP) is associated with multiple adverse childhood outcomes including externalizing behaviors. However, the association between MSDP and internalizing (anxiety and depressive) behaviors in offspring has received less investigation. We aimed to assess the association between MSDP and childhood internalizing (anxiety and depressive) behaviors in a very large, well-characterized cohort study. Methods: We assessed the association between MSDP and internalizing behaviors in offspring utilizing information drawn from 90,040 mother-child pairs enrolled in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. Mothers reported smoking information, including status and frequency of smoking, twice during pregnancy. Mothers also reported their child's internalizing behaviors at 18 months, 36 months, and 5 years. Associations between MSDP and childhood internalizing behaviors, including dose-response and timing of smoking in pregnancy, were assessed at each time point. Results: MSDP was associated with increased internalizing behaviors when offspring were aged 18 months (B = 0.11, P <0.001) and 36 months (B = 0.06, P <0.01), adjusting for numerous potential confounders. Higher rates of smoking (e.g., >20 cigarettes per day) were associated with higher levels of internalizing behaviors. Maternal smoking during early pregnancy appeared to be the critical period for exposure. Conclusions: We found evidence supporting a potential role for MSDP in increasing internalizing (anxiety and depressive) behaviors in offspring. We also found evidence supportive of a possible causal relationship, including dose-dependency and support for a predominant role of early pregnancy exposure. Further investigation utilizing genetically informed designs are warranted to assess this association.BMC Medicine 02/2015; 13(1). DOI:10.1186/s12916-014-0257-4 · 7.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The aims of this study were to explore the degree to which relationship satisfaction predicts the risk of infectious diseases during pregnancy and to examine whether relationship satisfaction moderates the association between stressful life events and the risk of infections. This was a prospective study based on data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Pregnant women (n = 67,244) completed questionnaires concerning relationship satisfaction and nine different categories of infectious diseases as well as socioeconomic characteristics and stressful life events. Associations between the predictor variables and the infectious diseases were assessed by logistic regression analyses. A multiple regression analysis was performed to assess a possible interaction of relationship satisfaction with stressful life events on the risk for infectious diseases. After controlling for marital status, age, education, income, and stressful life events, high levels of relationship satisfaction at week 15 of gestation were found to predict a significantly lower risk for eight categories of infectious diseases at gestational weeks 17-30. No significant interaction effect was found between relationship satisfaction and stressful life events on the risk for infections.PLoS ONE 01/2015; 10(1):e0116796. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0116796 · 3.53 Impact Factor