Send to

Choose Destination
Kidney Int. 2007 Oct;72(7):789-91. Epub 2007 Jul 25.

Measures of effect: relative risks, odds ratios, risk difference, and 'number needed to treat'.

Author information

1CNR-IBIM, Clinical Epidemiology and Physiopathology of Renal Diseases and Hypertension of Reggio Calabria, Reggio Calabria, Italy.


Epidemiological studies aim at assessing the relationship between exposures and outcomes. Clinicians are interested in knowing not only whether a link between a given exposure (e.g. smoking) and a certain outcome (e.g. myocardial infarction) is statistically significant, but also the magnitude of this relationship. The 'measures of effect' are indexes that summarize the strength of the link between exposures and outcomes and can help the clinician in taking decisions in every day clinical practice. In epidemiological studies, the effect of exposure can be measured both in relative and absolute terms. The risk ratio, the incidence rate ratio, and the odds ratio are relative measures of effect. Risk difference is an absolute measure of effect and it is calculated by subtracting the risk of the outcome in exposed individuals from that of unexposed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center