Investigating Heterogeneity of Effects and Associations Using Interaction Terms

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Effect heterogeneity, the variability of an association or exposure across subgroups, usually warrants further investigation. The aim of this deeper analysis is to identify effect modifiers (or moderators) and quantify their relationship with the exposure. We explain why it is better to harness interaction effects within a single analytic model than to use separate models to analyse each subgroup. Using examples, we demonstrate a practical approach to modelling and interpretation with interaction terms from various measurement scales (categorical by categorical; categorical by continuous; and continuous by continuous).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-83
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Early online date21 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • interaction terms
  • effect heterogeneity
  • effect modifier
  • split sample


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