Invited Commentary: Selection Bias Without Colliders

Am J Epidemiol. 2017 Jun 1;185(11):1048-1050. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwx077.


In causal analyses, conditioning on a collider generally results in selection bias. Conditioning on a prognostic factor that is independent of the exposure-and therefore is not a collider-can also result in selection bias when 1) the exposure has a non-null effect on the outcome and 2) the association between the noncollider and the outcome is heterogenous across levels of the exposure. This result was empirically demonstrated by Greenland in 1977 (Am J Epidemiol. 1977;106(3):184-187).

Keywords: causal diagrams; collider; loss to follow-up; selection bias.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Causality*
  • Epidemiologic Research Design*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Selection Bias*