The effect of non-differential exposure misclassification on estimates of the attributable and prevented fraction
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This paper considers the effect of non-differential exposure misclassification on the population attributable fraction and the population prevented fraction as a function of the sensitivity and specificity of the exposure classification, the true relative risk, and the true prevalence of the exposure. Given a certain set of sensitivity, specificity, and prevalence of the exposure, the apparent attributable fraction is a constant proportion of the true attributable fraction regardless of the true relative risk. This observation does not hold for the apparent prevented fraction and the apparent relative risk, both of which vary with the true relative risk. For both the attributable and the prevented fraction, the sensitivity of the exposure classification has a greater influence on the magnitude of the bias than the specificity; also, the higher the prevalence of the exposure, the larger is the bias caused by the imperfect exposure classification.