Week 7: Application of Measures of Effect
Working near farm fields may be hazardous to your health. A recent epidemiologic study revealed a link between three agricultural pesticides and the development of Parkinson’s disease (Wang et al., 2011; UCLA, 2011). This link was initially suspected because of higher rates of Parkinson’s in farmers and others living in rural areas. Researchers analyzed risk estimates—for those working near the fields, not in them—and determined an 80% increased risk for Parkinson’s. As demonstrated with this example, researchers can begin to define the effects of exposure by comparing rates of disease from those exposed to certain conditions and those not exposed. This, in turn, can lead to development of interventions for the affected population.
In Weeks 5 and 6, you explored how the environment, genetics, and psychosocial factors influence population health. This week, you will continue to examine the association between risk factors and the etiology of disease by investigating measures of effect. You will examine tools used to ascertain these measures (incidence, prevalence, relative risk, and odds ratios), and you will consider how nurses use measures of effect to make informed health care practice decisions. You will also begin Assignment 3.
· Analyze how measures of effect strengthen and support nursing practice
· Determine a causal model that applies to a specific population health problem
Friis, R. H., & Sellers, T. A. (2021). Epidemiology for public health practice (6th ed.). Jones & Bartlett.
- Review Chapter 3, “Measures of Morbidity and Mortality Used in Epidemiology”
- Chapter 9, “Measures of Effect”
Chapter 9 extends the discussion that began with Chapter 6 (which looked at ecologic, cross-sectional, and case-control study designs) by introducing additional measures that are useful in evaluating the potential implications of an exposure-disease association.
As noted by the authors of this article (2010), “Measuring the strength of observed associations between a given risk factor (e.g., blood pressure) and a given outcome (e.g., stroke) is an important goal in epidemiological and clinical research” (p. c91). This article provides an accessible overview of the terminology and various methods used to measure associations in research.
Krethong, P., Jirapaet, V., Jitpanya, C., & Sloan, R. (2008). A causal model of health-related quality of life in Thai patients with heart-failure. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 40(3), 254–260.
Schmidt, C. O., & Kohlmann, T. (2008). When to use the odd ratio or the relative risk? International Journal of Public Health, 53(3), 165–167.
Vineis, P., & Kriebel, D. (2006). Causal models in epidemiology: Past inheritance and genetic future. Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source, 5, p. 21.
Discussion: Measures of Effect
One important application of epidemiology is to identify factors that could increase the likelihood of a certain health problem occurring within a specific population. Epidemiologists use measures of effect to examine the association or linkage in the relationship between risk factors and emergence of disease or ill health. For instance, they may use measures of effect to better understand the relationships between poverty and lead poisoning in children, smoking and heart disease, or low birth weight and future motor skills.
What is the significance of measures of effect for nursing practice? In this Discussion, you will consider this pivotal question.
· With the Learning Resources in mind, consider how measures of effect strengthen and support nursing practice.
· What would be the risk of not using measures of effect in nursing practice?
· Conduct additional research in the Walden Library and other credible resources, and locate two examples in the scholarly literature that support your insights.
By Day 3
Post a cohesive scholarly response that addresses the following:
· Analyze how measures of effect strengthen and support nursing practice. Provide at least two specific examples from the literature to substantiate your insights.
· Assess dangers of not using measures of effect in nursing practice.
Write 1.5 pages in APA and cite at least 3 sources of the given sources