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January 1976

The Life TableA Method for Analyzing Longitudinal Studies

Author Affiliations

From the Biometrics Research Unit (Dr Fleiss) and the Metabolic Unit and Lithium Clinic (Drs Dunner, Stallone, and Fieve) of the New York State Psychiatric Institute; and the Division of Biostatistics (Dr Fleiss) and the Department of Psychiatry (Drs Dunner, Stallone, and Fieve), Columbia University, New York.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(1):107-112. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770010067013

• The life table is presented as the method of choice for analyzing data from longitudinal studies in which the outcome under study occurs randomly and in which patients are followed up varying lengths of time. We discuss the superiority of the life table to methods typically used, the calculation of its entries, and some of the clinical uses that can be made of its results. The method is applied to follow-up data on manic-depressive patients maintained with prophylactic lithium carbonate or with control regimens, and it is shown to disclose mathematical regularities in the parameters of longitudinal course.