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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


DELGADO RODRIGUEZ, Miguel  and  LLORCA DIAZ, Javier. Longitudinal Studies: concept and particularities. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2004, vol.78, n.2, pp.141-148. ISSN 2173-9110.

In this review the definition of «longitudinal study» is analysed. Most current textbooks on epidemiology do not define a longitudinal study, whereas statistical textbooks do. It is more common to talk about longitudinal data than about longitudinal studies. A longitudinal study implies the existence of repeated measurements (more than two) across follow-up. According to these ideas, a longitudinal study can be considered a subtype of cohort study that, in contrast with life-table cohort studies, allows inference to the subject level, to analyze changes in variables (exposures and outcomes) and transitions among different health states. The characteristics of this design force to paid special attention to quality control during data collection, losses during follow-up, and missing data in some measurements. The statistical analysis should take repeated measures into account, and it is what finally gives the longitudinal character to a study with repeated measurements.

Keywords : Longitudinal studies; Cohort studies.

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