Adjusting for multiple testing--when and how?

J Clin Epidemiol. 2001 Apr;54(4):343-9. doi: 10.1016/s0895-4356(00)00314-0.


Multiplicity of data, hypotheses, and analyses is a common problem in biomedical and epidemiological research. Multiple testing theory provides a framework for defining and controlling appropriate error rates in order to protect against wrong conclusions. However, the corresponding multiple test procedures are underutilized in biomedical and epidemiological research. In this article, the existing multiple test procedures are summarized for the most important multiplicity situations. It is emphasized that adjustments for multiple testing are required in confirmatory studies whenever results from multiple tests have to be combined in one final conclusion and decision. In case of multiple significance tests a note on the error rate that will be controlled for is desirable.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bias
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical*
  • Epidemiologic Measurements*
  • Epidemiologic Methods*
  • Humans
  • Models, Statistical
  • Reproducibility of Results