Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

Living Edition
| Editors: Marc Gellman

Case-Control Studies

  • Jane MonacoEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6439-6_990-2



A case-control study is a study in which subjects are selected based on their outcome status, such as with disease or disease-free. Investigators select cases (subjects with the outcome of interest) and controls (subjects without the outcome of interest) and then compare the exposure (or risk factor) status in the two groups.


Case-control studies are a very common observational study design within behavioral medicine research. Because the participants are selected based on their outcome status (commonly disease status), this study design is well suited for an outcome that is rare. For diseases with long latency periods (for example, melanoma or coronary heart disease), case-control studies can also be time efficient because the outcome has already occurred at the initiation of the study. When the exposure (or risk factor) is rare, a case-control study is often not practical.


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References and Further Reading

  1. Brent, D. A., Perper, J. A., Moritz, G., Allman, C., Friend, A., Roth, C., et al. (1993). Psychiatric risk factors for adolescent suicide: A case-control study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 32(3), 521–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Hennekens, C. H., Buring, J. E., & Mayrent, S. L. (1987). Epidemiology in medicine. Boston: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.Google Scholar
  3. Kleinbaum, D. G., Sullivan, K. M., & Barker, N. D. (2007). A pocket guide to epidemiology. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  4. Rockenbauer, M., Olsen, J., Czeizel, A. E., Pedersen, L., & Sørensen, H. T. (2001). Recall bias in a case-control surveillance system on the use of medicine during pregnancy. Epidemiology, 12(4), 461–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiostatisticsThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • J. Rick Turner
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinical Communications, QuintilesDurhamUSA