Evaluating the causality of an exposure–outcome association: Consider the relationship between smoking and lung cancer occurrence


Evaluating the causality of an exposure–outcome association requires the following:

  • An understanding of the body of literature on the topic
  • The application of a causal inference model

The relationship between smoking and lung cancer occurrence is considered causal, in part because multiple studies have shown that it meets all of the Bradford Hill criteria of causality (although that may not be the only causal model that fits the data).

To prepare for this Discussion, choose an epidemiologic association you believe may be causal. Identify and review three or more peer-reviewed epidemiological research articles about the association. In addition, using the Learning Resources, review and consider the following three models of causality: the Bradford Hill criteria, Rothman’s Sufficient Component Cause model, and the consideration of counterfactuals. Determine which of the three causal inference models may be the best fit for the epidemiological association you chose.

Post an assessment of causal inference of your chosen epidemiological association using one of the three models identified above. Explain how that model addresses causal inference, and provide specific examples from the epidemiological research you selected to support your assessment. Finally, explain which criteria from the model might be missing empirical evidence that would strengthen your conclusion.