Document Type

Article

Department

Community Health Sciences; Paediatrics and Child Health; Surgery; Medicine

Abstract

Objective: To characterize the methods of design and analysis currently adopted in survey research of school-based observational studies for smoking, and to identify the common pitfalls made by researchers.
Methods: The systematic review was conducted in 2009 and consisted of observational studies in school settings published between January 2005 and January 2009. Smoking status was the main outcome of interest. Following Cochrane style, five steps were followed: setting selection criteria for studies and conducting a literature search; review of abstracts; review of complete articles; data extraction and quality assessment of included studies; and, finally, synthesis of studies.
Results: Of the 292 abstracts retrieved, 45 (15.4%) articles were selected for the final review. Inconsistencies were found in the definition of smoking behaviour which impeded generalisability. Individual-level factors had importance, but environmental level factors were also important in studying the aetiology of smoking. Results showed that studies inappropriately reported sample size estimation and important confounding factors. Hierarchical linear modelling, random effects modelling and structural equation modelling were employed in comparatively few studies.
Conclusions: There were concerns regarding data analysis of complex surveys. Fifty five percent of reviewed studies ignored environmental effects which may have produced unreliable inferences. Multi-level analysis assisted in understanding school-level effects.

Comments

Issue no. are not provided by the author/publisher

Publication

Open Journal of Epidemiology

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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