An investigation of selection bias in estimating racial disparity in stroke risk factors

Academic Article


  • Selection due to survival or attrition might bias estimates of racial disparities in health, but few studies quantify the likely magnitude of such bias. In a large national cohort with moderate loss to follow-up, we contrasted racial differences in 2 stroke risk factors, incident hypertension and incident left ventricular hypertrophy, estimated by complete-case analyses, inverse probability of attrition weighting, and the survivor average causal effect. We used data on 12,497 black and 17,660 white participants enrolled in the United States (2003-2007) and collected incident risk factor data approximately 10 years after baseline. At follow-up, 21.0% of white participants and 23.0% of black participants had died; additionally 22.0% of white participants and 28.4% of black participants had withdrawn. Individual probabilities of completing the follow-up visit were estimated using baseline demographic and health characteristics. Adjusted risk ratio estimates of racial disparities from complete-case analyses in both incident hypertension (1.11, 95% confidence interval: 1.02, 1.21) and incident left ventricular hypertrophy (1.02, 95% confidence interval: 0.84, 1.24) were virtually identical to estimates from inverse probability of attrition weighting and survivor average causal effect. Despite racial differences in mortality and attrition, we found little evidence of selection bias in the estimation of racial differences for these incident risk factors.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Leann Long D; Howard G; Long DM; Judd S; Manly JJ; McClure LA; Wadley VG; Safford MM; Katz R; Maria Glymour M
  • Start Page

  • 587
  • End Page

  • 597
  • Volume

  • 188
  • Issue

  • 3