Wikia

Psychology Wiki

Risk factors

Talk0
34,143pages on
this wiki
Revision as of 10:29, August 28, 2010 by Dr Joe Kiff (Talk | contribs)

Assessment | Biopsychology | Comparative | Cognitive | Developmental | Language | Individual differences | Personality | Philosophy | Social |
Methods | Statistics | Clinical | Educational | Industrial | Professional items | World psychology |

Statistics: Scientific method · Research methods · Experimental design · Undergraduate statistics courses · Statistical tests · Game theory · Decision theory


This article needs rewriting to enhance its relevance to psychologists..
Please help to improve this page yourself if you can..


In epidemiology a risk factor is a variable associated with an increased risk of the development of disorders, either physical or mental disorders|mental]]. Risk factors are not necessarily causal. For example, being young cannot be said to cause measles, but young people are more at risk as they are less likely to have developed immunity during a previous epidemic.

Risk factors are evaluated by comparing the risk of those exposed to the potential risk factor to those not exposed. Let's say that at a wedding, 74 people ate the chicken and 22 of them were ill, while of the 35 people who had the fish or vegetarian meal only 2 were ill. Did the chicken make the people ill?

 
Risk = \frac {\mbox{number of persons experiencing event (food poisoning)}} {\mbox{number of persons exposed to risk factor (food)}}

So the chicken eaters' risk = 22/74 = 0.297
And non-chicken eaters' risk = 2/35 = 0.057.

Those who ate the chicken had a risk over five times as high as those who did not, suggesting that eating chicken was the cause of the illness. Note, however, that this is not proof. Statistical methods would be used in a less clear cut case to decide what level of risk the risk factor would have to present to be able to say the risk factor "causes" the disease (for example in a British doctors study of the link between smoking and lung cancer).

The term "risk factor" was first coined by heart researcher Dr. Thomas R. Dawber in a landmark scientific paper in 1961, where he attributed specific conditions (blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking) to heart disease.



See also

References & Bibliography

Key texts

Books

Papers

Additional material

Books

Papers

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki