Group Comparison Approaches in Psychiatric Research
Comparative population psychiatric research, regardless of the complexity of the methodology, involves studying the relationship between a risk determinant and a health outcome. A risk determinant is also referred to as an “independent variable,” “risk factor,” “exposure,” or “treatment” in a typical comparative study. Simply put, the outcome experience of a group of people who have been exposed to a risk determinant is compared to that of another group who have not been so exposed, and the relation between exposure and outcome is evaluated empirically. In psychiatry, the risk determinant or exposure may be whether the individual has a certain disorder (i.e., schizophrenia or affective disorder) or some combination of psychiatric symptomatology. The outcome might be measured as long-term functioning, mortality rates, morbidity rates, or familial psychopathology.
KeywordsAffective Disorder Incidence Rate Ratio Psychiatric Research Risk Determinant Candidate Population
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