Attributable Risk

Reference work entry

The attributable risk is the difference between the risk encountered by individuals exposed to a particular factor and the risk encountered by individuals who are not exposed to it. This is the opposite to avoidable risk. It measures the absolute effect of a cause (that is, the excess risk or cases of illness).


See risk.


By definition we have:
$$ \begin{aligned} \text{attributable risk} = \text{risk for those exposed}\\ - \text{risk for those not exposed}\:. \end{aligned} $$
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.
    Cornfield, J.: A method of estimating comparative rates from clinical data. Applications to cancer of the lung, breast, and cervix. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 11, 1269–75 (1951)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lilienfeld, A.M., Lilienfeld, D.E.: Foundations of Epidemiology, 2nd edn. Clarendon, Oxford (1980)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    MacMahon, B., Pugh, T.F.: Epidemiology: Principles and Methods. Little Brown, Boston, MA (1970)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Morabia, A.: Epidemiologie Causale. Editions Médecine et Hygiène, Geneva (1996)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Morabia, A.: L'Épidémiologie Clinique. Editions “Que sais-je?”. Presses Universitaires de France, Paris (1996)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008