Correlational Approach

  • Gerald Goldstein
Part of the Critical Issues in Psychiatry book series (CIPS)


Correlational methods are often described by contrast with group comparison approaches. In group comparison approaches, as described in Chapter 4, groups are constructed and controls are imposed. Generally, correlational methods are not thought of as being used in controlled studies, but rather in dealing with relationships among phenomena as they exist in natural situations. A correlation can be defined in numerous ways: as the strength of association between phenomena, as the degree to which one phenomenon can be predicted from another phenomenon, or as the degree to which phenomena covary. In a sense, it is a scientific version of the kinds of natural observation in which one relates one thing to another. Underlying these observations, we can usually find some theoretical inference concerning those relationships. For example, the clinician may observe that child abusers are often individuals who have suffered abuse themselves. A formal study of this observation would involve obtaining some response measure of child abuse and of experiencing abuse in the same set of individuals. The measure need only be the presence or absence of the experience. We can then tabulate these data in a contingency arrangement of the type shown in Figure 1. It can be seen there that the high numbers are in those cells that are completely positive or negative for the two phenomena (i.e., abusers with abusive parents and nonabusers with nonabusive parents).


Clinical Judgment Correlational Method Brief Psychiatric Rate Scale General Intelligence Multiple Regression Equation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald Goldstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Veterans Administration HospitalHighland DrivePittsburghUSA

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