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Chapter 4

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Chapter 4
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University of Toronto Scarborough

Health Studies

HLTC22H3

Anna Walsh

Winter

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Health Illness and Optimal Aging Biological and Psychological Perspectives Carolyn M Aldwin Diane F Gilmer Foreword by James Birren Section I Demographic Theoretical and Methodological IssuesChapter 4 Understanding Change in Aging Research Basic Definitionsy Statistics answer two basic questions a Is there a difference between two or more groups on a given variable and b Is there an association between two or more variables Statistics are used to establish whether the observed effects are real significant or due to chance Basic Statistical Terms y Continuous variables are those that form a series such as age or number of symptoms whereas categorical variables refer to groups that cannot be added together such as where someone was born or type of illness y In healthrelated research when a study describes mean differences between the groups it is assessing a continuous variable eg number of symptoms and describing average differences between the groups When a study discusses the probability of developing a health problem odds or risk ratios the dependent variable is categorical y Table 41 presents a summary of commonly used statistics and their uses divided by whether they test differences or associations y For example ttests assess mean differences between two groups whereas correlations examine whether two variables covary using a standardized metric 1 to 1 y Different statistics are used depending on whether or not the outcome variable is categorical or continuous Nonparametric statistics such as chisquare analysis are used if both the independent predictor and dependent outcome variables are categorical Parametric statistics such as ttests and analyses if variance ANOVAs are used when the dependent variables are continuousy Finally MANOVAs are used when there are multiple dependent variables that are intercorrelatedMANOVAs can control for correlated errors that reflect systematic biases in response patternsSummary of Common Statistical Technique y Statistics can be grouped depending on whether they are bivariate examining only two variables such as ttests correlations or chisquares or multivariate examining more than one variable such as multiple logistic regression y A partial correlation controls for one variable a when correlating two other variables b with c y A regression equation is basically a series of partial correlations It does much the same thing but with several variables so that one can examine the contribution

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