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Assessing the suitability of fractional polynomial methods in health services research: a perspective on the categorization epidemic
Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing, Newcastle Institute of Public Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia.
2011 (English)In: Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, ISSN 1355-8196, E-ISSN 1758-1060, Vol. 16, no 3, 147-52 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

OBJECTIVE: To show how fractional polynomial methods can usefully replace the practice of arbitrarily categorizing data in epidemiology and health services research.

METHODS: A health service setting is used to illustrate a structured and transparent way of representing non-linear data without arbitrary grouping.

RESULTS: When age is a regressor its effects on an outcome will be interpreted differently depending upon the placing of cutpoints or the use of a polynomial transformation.

CONCLUSIONS: Although it is common practice, categorization comes at a cost. Information is lost, and accuracy and statistical power reduced, leading to spurious statistical interpretation of the data. The fractional polynomial method is widely supported by statistical software programs, and deserves greater attention and use.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 16, no 3, 147-52 p.
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-98505DOI: 10.1258/jhsrp.2010.010063ISI: 000294078600005PubMedID: 21543382OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-98505DiVA: diva2:782957
Available from: 2015-01-23 Created: 2015-01-23 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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Stewart Williams, Jennifer

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