New PDF release: An Introduction to Epidemiology

By Michael Alderson (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0333350154

ISBN-13: 9780333350157

ISBN-10: 134917291X

ISBN-13: 9781349172917

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Example text

Providing denominators are available from national sources, mortality rates can be calculated and the results examined for variation. It must. be remembered, when considering the following brief examples, that such statistics are of value in demonstrating that differences exist, rather than explaining why this should be so. 1 Marital status It has been known since the eighteenth century that there was an increased risk of breast cancer in nuns (Ramazzini, 1713). Hems (1980) used mortality statistics to demonstrate that the age-specific rates in England and Wales were higher in the single than the married.

Although this enables direct comparisons to be made irrespective of any variation in age distribution, it can result in the presentation of a large amount of material (if, for instance, the age-specific mortality rates for fifteen five-year age-groups are examined). This creates a problem in the preparation and presentation of the material, and the sheer number of separate sets of data creates difficulties in the interpretation. Standardisation is a technique that may be used for producing an index of mortality, which is adjusted for the age distribution in a particular group being examined.

Stevenson (1923) divided the population into eight social groups, and tabulated the infant mortality in each of these. This scheme was soon modified to produce the five social classes (coded in accordance with the Registrar General's Classification of Occupations), which are still used to examine mortality (and morbidity) data. The present classification distinguishes the following: 26 AN INTRODUCfION TO EPIDEMIOLOGY I Professional; II Intermediate; IIIn Skilled non-manual; IIIm Skilled manual; IV Partly skilled; V Unskilled.

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An Introduction to Epidemiology by Michael Alderson (auth.)


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