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Understanding Measures of Association

A Primer With Examples From Rehabilitation Research

Upadhye, Suneel MD, MSc; Alavinia, Mohammad PhD; Kumbhare, Dinesh MD, PhD, FRCPC, FAAPMR

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: August 2019 - Volume 98 - Issue 8 - p 725–728
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001170
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Understanding measures of associations, how they are calculated, what they mean, and how to compare them is an important part of understanding clinical and health research. The relative risk and odds ratio are the two most common used measures of association in medical research. The appropriate use of these statistics to estimate the association between treatment or risk factor and outcome in research studies depends on the methodology and design of the study. The aim of this article was to cover basics of odds ratio and relative risk as the most important measures for the association between an exposure and an outcome. We use a clinical scenario as an example of their uses and demonstrate their calculation.

From the Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (SU); and Department of Medicine, Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (MA, DK).

All correspondence should be addressed to: Dinesh Kumbhare, MD, PhD, FRCPC, FAAPMR, 550 University Ave, Suite 7-131, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 2A2.

Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.

Online date: , 2019

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