Bias due to differential participation in case-control studies and review of available approaches for adjustment

Low response rates in epidemiologic research potentially lead to the recruitment of a non-representative sample of controls in case-control studies. Problems in the unbiased estimation of odds ratios arise when characteristics causing the probability of participation are associated with exposure and outcome. This is a specific setting of selection bias and a realistic hazard in many case-control studies. This paper formally describes the problem and shows its potential extent, reviews existing approaches for bias adjustment applicable under certain conditions, compares and applies them.