social, health, political imagery through the lens of George J Huba PhD © 2012-2017

Logistic regression and survival analysis.

Logistic regression and survival analysis?

Yup. Logistic regression and its extension into Cox regression (survival analysis).

Wanna know one population mean is significantly higher or lower than that of another population? OK. Go read a different blog post.

Wanna know how much your life expectancy decreases if you smoke cigarettes or use alcohol to excess or are 15% over the medically acceptable weight or some combination of these? Use logistic or Cox regression depending on the type of data you have (time invariant predictors or not, time-censored or not). Don’t tell me that smokers have significantly shorter lifespans than nonsmokers. That is not going to surprise me or shock me into behavior change. Do tell me how much my chances of reaching the age of 70 decrease if I smoke two humps of Camels a day.

Shock me. Make me want to change. Let me see how my behavior affects the odds I will live long, or be happy, or have a well-adjusted family.

Do a logistic regression or survival analysis. I strongly believe that the average member of the general public, press, AND EVEN US Congress Members, can understand these analyses easily if the information is presented in a straight-forward way. Of course, prepare for US politicians to call you an idiot on the daily cable news shows that air during prime time. Personally I do not give a damn what Bill O’Reilly or Chris Matthews thinks (if indeed they do think before shouting at a “guest” on their shows). Or what the scientific “hatchet” professional talking heads say to them.

Oh yeah, my (intuitive) logistic regression tells me that after conducting this statistical research only a small percent will make the necessary behavior changes and live longer, more happily, and have better adjusted families. That’s OK if it has to be that way. Every life is priceless and every small gain is huge.

Plug in the cattle prod and shock me with those results.

Live long and prosper.