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Statistical Commentary: “Multivariable Versus Multivariate”

Published:November 30, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2018.11.008
      A current issue in terminology is the use of multivariate versus multivariable. The article “Racial/ethnic disparities in receipt of electroconvulsive therapy for elderly patients with a principal diagnosis of depression in inpatient settings” in the current issue uses the term multivariable.
      • Jones KC
      • Salemi JL
      • Dongarwar D
      • et al.
      Racial/ethnic disparities in receipt of electroconvulsive therapy for elderly patients with a principal diagnosis of depression in inpatient settings.
      This term has gained some traction based on a few authors, especially in public health. Some individuals have proposed using the term multivariable to refer to analyses with many independent variables. This separates these analyses from those with many dependent variables, i.e., multivariate. So, multiple regression (one Y with many X's) is multivariable and not multivariate. One often cited commentary by Hidalgo and Goodman
      • Hidalgo B
      • Goodman M
      Multivariate or multivariable regression?.
      proposing this distinction appears in the American Journal of Public Health.
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      References

        • Jones KC
        • Salemi JL
        • Dongarwar D
        • et al.
        Racial/ethnic disparities in receipt of electroconvulsive therapy for elderly patients with a principal diagnosis of depression in inpatient settings.
        Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2019; 27: 266-278
        • Hidalgo B
        • Goodman M
        Multivariate or multivariable regression?.
        Am J Public Health. 2013; 103: 39-40