Techniques of Psychosocial Epidemiology.
NAVAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER SAN DIEGO CA
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Psychosocial epidemiology is distinguished from other forms of epidemiologic research by its emphasis on the role of stress in the distribution of disease and its use of psychometric scales. This report provides a summary of the quantitative techniques employed in psychosocial studies in an attempt to provide a better conception of this subfield of epidemiology. The summary contains a review of research design, data collection, and data analysis. Prospective, retrospective and cross-sectional designs are examined and the advantages and disadvantages of each design evaluated. The data for psychosocial studies are usually represented in the form of rates and scales. The major dependent variables are typically disease and stress events while independent variables include sociodemographic characteristics, life events, social support indices, and personality measures. Methods of data analysis discussed include relative risk, chi-square tests, correlation coefficients, lifetime risk and attributable risk. Methods of association used specifically in prospective studies include life tables, survival analysis, and Fourier analysis. Multivariate analyses are used to adjust and control for potential confounding variables and test hypotheses. The last section of the report briefly examines the necessity of a qualitative perspective in each of the stages of a psychosocial study.
- Medicine and Medical Research