As an analytic technique, path analysis is fortuitously named. Compared to others, e.g., LISREL, logit, probit, or discrimination, path analysis provides intuitive insight into its purpose and procedure, and on a level that nonstatisticians can readily appreciate. The word path suggests starting at one point and proceeding in one direction to another. It is only necessary to add the idea of causation, that having been caused to arrive at one point in the path, there is a nonzero probability of proceeding forward to another, to grasp the essence of path analysis. When the end point of the path is a health behavior and one wishes to test a theory about why that health behavior varies in a population, i.e., why some do it and some do not, or why some do it more often than others, the causal pathway is an attractive concept. Path analysis provides a mathematical way, through a series of equations, to test a hypothesized chain of events or conditions.
KeywordsHealth Behavior Illicit Drug Path Analysis Path Coefficient Physician Visit
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