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Biometrics. 1990 Dec;46(4):991-1003.

Variance calculations and confidence intervals for estimates of the attributable risk based on logistic models.

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Département de Biostatistique et Informatique Médicale, Hôpital Saint-Louis, Paris, France.


The attributable risk (AR), defined as AR = [Pr(disease) - Pr(disease/no exposure)]/Pr(disease), measures the proportion of disease risk that is attributable to an exposure. Recently Bruzzi et al. (1985, American Journal of Epidemiology 122, 904-914) presented point estimates of AR based on logistic models for case-control data to allow for confounding factors and secondary exposures. To produce confidence intervals, we derived variance estimates for AR under the logistic model and for various designs for sampling controls. Calculations for discrete exposure and confounding factors require covariances between estimates of the risk parameters of the logistic model and the proportions of cases with given levels of exposure and confounding factors. These covariances are estimated from Taylor series expansions applied to implicit functions. Similar calculations for continuous exposures are derived using influence functions. Simulations indicate that those asymptotic procedures yield reliable variance estimates and confidence intervals with near nominal coverage. An example illustrates the usefulness of variance calculations in selecting a logistic model that is neither so simplified as to exhibit systematic lack of fit nor so complicated as to inflate the variance of the estimate of AR.

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