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A brief conceptual tutorial of multilevel analysis in social epidemiology: linking the statistical concept of clustering to the idea of contextual phenomenon.

Merlo, Juan LU ; Chaix, Basile; Yang, Min; Lynch, John and Råstam, Lennart LU (2005) In Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 59(6). p.443-449
Abstract
Study objective: This didactical essay is directed to readers disposed to approach multilevel regression analysis (MLRA) in a more conceptual than mathematical way. However, it specifically develops an epidemiological vision on multilevel analysis with particular emphasis on measures of health variation (for example, intraclass correlation). Such measures have been underused in the literature as compared with more traditional measures of association (for example, regression coefficients) in the investigation of contextual determinants of health. A link is provided, which will be comprehensible to epidemiologists, between MLRA and social epidemiological concepts, particularly between the statistical idea of clustering and the concept of... (More)
Study objective: This didactical essay is directed to readers disposed to approach multilevel regression analysis (MLRA) in a more conceptual than mathematical way. However, it specifically develops an epidemiological vision on multilevel analysis with particular emphasis on measures of health variation (for example, intraclass correlation). Such measures have been underused in the literature as compared with more traditional measures of association (for example, regression coefficients) in the investigation of contextual determinants of health. A link is provided, which will be comprehensible to epidemiologists, between MLRA and social epidemiological concepts, particularly between the statistical idea of clustering and the concept of contextual phenomenon.



Design and participants: The study uses an example based on hypothetical data on systolic blood pressure (SBP) from 25 000 people living in 39 neighbourhoods. As the focus is on the empty MLRA model, the study does not use any independent variable but focuses mainly on SBP variance between people and between neighbourhoods.



Results: The intraclass correlation (ICC = 0.08) informed of an appreciable clustering of individual SBP within the neighbourhoods, showing that 8% of the total individual differences in SBP occurred at the neighbourhood level and might be attributable to contextual neighbourhood factors or to the different composition of neighbourhoods.



Conclusions: The statistical idea of clustering emerges as appropriate for quantifying "contextual phenomena" that is of central relevance in social epidemiology. Both concepts convey that people from the same neighbourhood are more similar to each other than to people from different neighbourhoods with respect to the health outcome variable. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
volume
59
issue
6
pages
443 - 449
publisher
BMJ Publishing Group
external identifiers
  • wos:000229312600004
  • pmid:15911637
  • scopus:13544261627
ISSN
1470-2738
DOI
10.1136/jech.2004.023473
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
f09ef7dc-2fc0-46be-ad5e-dcf6f7664779 (old id 137851)
alternative location
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=15911637&dopt=Abstract
date added to LUP
2007-07-26 13:26:47
date last changed
2017-11-19 03:33:35
@article{f09ef7dc-2fc0-46be-ad5e-dcf6f7664779,
  abstract     = {Study objective: This didactical essay is directed to readers disposed to approach multilevel regression analysis (MLRA) in a more conceptual than mathematical way. However, it specifically develops an epidemiological vision on multilevel analysis with particular emphasis on measures of health variation (for example, intraclass correlation). Such measures have been underused in the literature as compared with more traditional measures of association (for example, regression coefficients) in the investigation of contextual determinants of health. A link is provided, which will be comprehensible to epidemiologists, between MLRA and social epidemiological concepts, particularly between the statistical idea of clustering and the concept of contextual phenomenon.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Design and participants: The study uses an example based on hypothetical data on systolic blood pressure (SBP) from 25 000 people living in 39 neighbourhoods. As the focus is on the empty MLRA model, the study does not use any independent variable but focuses mainly on SBP variance between people and between neighbourhoods.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Results: The intraclass correlation (ICC = 0.08) informed of an appreciable clustering of individual SBP within the neighbourhoods, showing that 8% of the total individual differences in SBP occurred at the neighbourhood level and might be attributable to contextual neighbourhood factors or to the different composition of neighbourhoods.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Conclusions: The statistical idea of clustering emerges as appropriate for quantifying "contextual phenomena" that is of central relevance in social epidemiology. Both concepts convey that people from the same neighbourhood are more similar to each other than to people from different neighbourhoods with respect to the health outcome variable.},
  author       = {Merlo, Juan and Chaix, Basile and Yang, Min and Lynch, John and Råstam, Lennart},
  issn         = {1470-2738},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {6},
  pages        = {443--449},
  publisher    = {BMJ Publishing Group},
  series       = {Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health},
  title        = {A brief conceptual tutorial of multilevel analysis in social epidemiology: linking the statistical concept of clustering to the idea of contextual phenomenon.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech.2004.023473},
  volume       = {59},
  year         = {2005},
}