Causal modeling of epidemiological data on psychiatric disorders

P. E. Shrout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reviews the logic of causal inference from epidemiological data. I maintain that the clearest causal statements can be made when the philosophical causal principles of association, direction and isolation are upheld in epidemiological research. After reviewing the argument by Holland that only experimental manipulation affords clear causal claims, I examine the utility of structural equation models and longitudinal methods for making causal claims from non-experimental data. This examination leads to the conclusion that mental health epidemiologists should begin to incorporate intervention trials into the last phases of their research programmes when they want to make strong causal claims.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-404
Number of pages5
JournalSocial psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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