Browse the glossary:
disease frequency survey, prevalence study
Cross-sectional studies can be used to examine the relationship between health conditions and other variables of interest, including exposure to treatments or other things that might affect health.
However, it is difficult to ensure that like is being compared to like in cross-sectional studies, and there may be unmeasured or unknown confounders.
In addition, it may not be possible to determine whether exposures came before outcomes, so that associations between exposures and outcomes do not necessarily mean that the exposure caused the outcome.
In cross-sectional studies of diagnostic test accuracy, the participants undergo both the index test and a reference standard test within a very short time period (e.g. on the same day).
If you feel that this definition hasn't helped you to understand the term, click on our monkey to let us know.