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Biometrika. 2010 Sep;97(3):647-659. Epub 2010 Jun 1.

Sufficient cause interactions for categorical and ordinal exposures with three levels.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology , Harvard School of Public Health , 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115 , U.S.A. tvanderw@hsph.harvard.edu.

Abstract

Definitions are given for weak and strong sufficient cause interactions in settings in which the outcome is binary and in which there are two exposures of interest that are categorical or ordinal. Weak sufficient cause interactions concern cases in which a mechanism will operate under certain values of the two exposures but not when one or the other of the exposures takes some other value. Strong sufficient cause interactions concern cases in which a mechanism will operate under certain values of the two exposures but not when one or the other of the exposures takes any other value. Empirical conditions are derived for such interactions when exposures have two or three levels and are related to regression coefficients in linear and log-linear models. When the exposures are binary, the notions of a weak and a strong sufficient cause interaction coincide, but not when the exposures are categorical or ordinal. The results are applied to examples concerning gene-gene and gene-environment interactions.

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