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Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 1992 Dec;20(6):313-21.

University of North Carolina Caries Risk Assessment Study: comparisons of high risk prediction, any risk prediction, and any risk etiologic models.

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Department of Dental Ecology, School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599.


The purpose of this analysis is to compare three different statistical models for predicting children likely to be at risk of developing dental caries over a 3-yr period. Data are based on 4117 children who participated in the University of North Carolina Caries Risk Assessment Study, a longitudinal study conducted in the Aiken, South Carolina, and Portland, Maine areas. The three models differed with respect to either the types of variables included or the definition of disease outcome. The two "Prediction" models included both risk factor variables thought to cause dental caries and indicator variables that are associated with dental caries, but are not thought to be causal for the disease. The "Etiologic" model included only etiologic factors as variables. A dichotomous outcome measure--none or any 3-yr increment, was used in the "Any Risk Etiologic model" and the "Any Risk Prediction Model". Another outcome, based on a gradient measure of disease, was used in the "High Risk Prediction Model". The variables that are significant in these models vary across grades and sites, but are more consistent among the Etiologic model than the Predictor models. However, among the three sets of models, the Any Risk Prediction Models have the highest sensitivity and positive predictive values, whereas the High Risk Prediction Models have the highest specificity and negative predictive values. Considerations in determining model preference are discussed.

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