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Glossary Term

Cohort Study

A cohort study is a research design that follows a group of individuals who share a common characteristic or experience over a period of time. This longitudinal study design is frequently used in medicine and epidemiology to investigate the etiology or cause-and-effect relationship between exposure to a specific factor and the occurrence of an outcome. The independent variable in a cohort study is exposure, while the dependent variable is the outcome of interest. One example of a cohort study is the investigation of trunk muscle response time to off-loading in Yale Varsity Athletes by Cholewicki et al. (2005). Understanding cohort studies is crucial for researchers who want to identify risk factors and determine the efficacy of interventions.

Cohort Study: a particular form of a longitudinal study that samples a cohort (a group of people who share a defining characteristic), performing a cross-section at intervals throughout a period of time. A cohort study is a quasi-experimental design often used in medicine to aid in determining etiology or a cause-and-effect relationship. In this study type exposure is the independent variable and outcome is dependent.

  • Example, the study by Cholewicki et al. (1) investigated Yale Varsity Athletes (the cohort) with 2 and 3 year follow up (longitudinal design) and found that trunk muscle response time to off-loading was predictive of future low back injury.
  1. Cholewicki, J., Silfies, S., Shah, R., Greene, H., Reeves, N. Alvi, K., Goldberg, B. (2005). Delayed trunk muscle reflex responses increase the risk of low back injuries. Spine. 30(23), 2614-2620