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June 2017

Causal Inference in Psychiatric Epidemiology

Author Affiliations
  • 1Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond
JAMA Psychiatry. 2017;74(6):561-562. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.0502

There is no question more fundamental for observational epidemiology than that of causal inference. When, for practical or ethical reasons, experiments are impossible, how may we gain insight into the causal relationship between exposures and outcomes? This is the key question that Quinn et al1 seek to answer: does maternal smoking during pregnancy (SDP) cause offspring serious mental illness (SMI)?

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