Volume 24 (2014) Issue 2 Pages 161-167
Background: When using the change-in-estimate criterion, a cutoff of 10% is commonly used to identify confounders. However, the appropriateness of this cutoff has never been evaluated. This study investigated cutoffs required under different conditions.
Methods: Four simulations were performed to select cutoffs that achieved a significance level of 5% and a power of 80%, using linear regression and logistic regression. A total of 10 000 simulations were run to obtain the percentage differences of the 4 fitted regression coefficients (with and without adjustment).
Results: In linear regression, larger effect size, larger sample size, and lower standard deviation of the error term led to a lower cutoff point at a 5% significance level. In contrast, larger effect size and a lower exposure–confounder correlation led to a lower cutoff point at 80% power. In logistic regression, a lower odds ratio and larger sample size led to a lower cutoff point at a 5% significance level, while a lower odds ratio, larger sample size, and lower exposure–confounder correlation yielded a lower cutoff point at 80% power.
Conclusions: Cutoff points for the change-in-estimate criterion varied according to the effect size of the exposure–outcome relationship, sample size, standard deviation of the regression error, and exposure–confounder correlation.