Resources for Causal Reasoning in Health Services Research

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Glossary of Terms

Back door criterion
Definition
Back door criterion

identifies variables blocking all biasing paths that would result in association between X and Y; a set of variables S relative to variables X and Y such that no variable from S is a descendent of X and S blocks all backdoors paths from X to Y

Excess proportion
Definition
Excess proportion

a proportion of cases that would not have occurred had the population not been exposed, relative to cases when the entire population was exposed (i.e. counterfactual risk when exposed is compared with counterfactual risk when unexposed)

Selection bias
Definition
Selection bias

the lack of similarity of study groups in terms of other variables, resulting from choice of treatment on the basis of baseline characteristics

Markov assumption
Definition
Markov assumption

conditional on its parents, a variable is independent of any other variable in the directed acyclic graph

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