Life course models: improving interpretation by consideration of total effects

Green, M. J. and Popham, F. (2017) Life course models: improving interpretation by consideration of total effects. International Journal of Epidemiology, 46(3), pp. 1057-1062. (doi:10.1093/ije/dyw329) (PMID:28031311) (PMCID:PMC5837734)

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Abstract

Life course epidemiology has used models of accumulation and critical or sensitive periods to examine the importance of exposure timing in disease aetiology. These models are usually used to describe the direct effects of exposures over the life course. In comparison with consideration of direct effects only, we show how consideration of total effects improves interpretation of these models, giving clearer notions of when it will be most effective to intervene. We show how life course variation in the total effects depends on the magnitude of the direct effects and the stability of the exposure. We discuss interpretation in terms of total, direct and indirect effects and highlight the causal assumptions required for conclusions as to the most effective timing of interventions.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Popham, Dr Timothy and Green, Dr Michael
Authors: Green, M. J., and Popham, F.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO Unit
Journal Name:International Journal of Epidemiology
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0300-5771
ISSN (Online):1464-3685
Published Online:12 December 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in International Journal of Epidemiology 46(3): 1057-1062
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727651SPHSU Core Renewal: Measuring and Analysing Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health Research ProgrammeAlastair LeylandMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/13IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU