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Epidemiological Methods in Life Course Research$
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Andrew Pickles, Barbara Maughan, and Michael Wadsworth

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198528487

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198528487.001.0001

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An overview of models and methods for life course analysis

An overview of models and methods for life course analysis

(p.181) Chapter 8 An overview of models and methods for life course analysis
Epidemiological Methods in Life Course Research

Andrew Pickles

Bianca De Stavola

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins by considering the range of different aspects of the disease process that life course analysis must address. Given the essential longitudinal nature of much life course analysis, it illustrates the population average and subject-specific modelling frameworks for longitudinal and multivariate data. The remainder of the chapter focuses on the tools — both conceptual and statistical — for tackling the problem of causal analysis. These include both traditional and more recently proposed methods, such as marginal structural models and instrumental variable methods, and approaches adopted from other disciplines, such as structural equation modelling. The chapter highlights both their specific strengths and their commonality. Two major concerns close the chapter, one relating to the implications for epidemiology of individual differences or non-uniform causal effects, and the second concerning the need to preserve objectivity within analysis.

Keywords:   life course models, disease, pathways of exposure, multivariate association analysis, models of causality, objectivity in analysis

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