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 Table of Contents    
LETTER TO EDITOR  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 248
Age is a number, not a group


Department of Psychopharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

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Date of Web Publication17-Jul-2017
 

How to cite this article:
Andrade C. Age is a number, not a group. Indian J Psychiatry 2017;59:248

How to cite this URL:
Andrade C. Age is a number, not a group. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2017 [cited 2020 Jul 14];59:248. Available from: http://www.indianjpsychiatry.org/text.asp?2017/59/2/248/210747


Sir,

The July–September 2016 issue of the Indian J Psychiatry carried eight original articles. Of these, one [1] provided only a range of values for the age of the participants, and another [2] provided no description of the sample, at all. These are serious limitations of a manuscript because, without descriptive information about the sample, readers cannot know to what population the results of a study may be generalized.

Three other papers [3],[4],[5] presented data on age not as mean (standard deviation) values, but in class intervals or groups that were otherwise defined. This is completely illogical; age is a number, not a group. When continuous variables are categorized, precision is lost, and the ability of inferential statistical tests to identify statistical relationships is weakened. Continuous variables should be categorized only if there is a specific need, such as for administrative purposes, or when the data could not be accurately recorded, or when the distribution is skewed.[6],[7]

Similar considerations apply to other continuous variables, as well; for example, education can be operationalized in units of years rather than as specific levels of attainment as presented by at least two teams of authors.[3],[5]

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Yaqub M, Ismail S, Babiker S, Sathyanarayana Rao TS. Psychiatrists' responsibilities with regards to patients' fitness to drive. Indian J Psychiatry 2016;58:287-90.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
2.
Roy S, Dasgupta A, Banerjee U, Chowdhury P, Mukhopadhyay A, Saha G, et al. Role of membrane cholesterol and lipid peroxidation in regulating the Na+/K+-ATPase activity in schizophrenia. Indian J Psychiatry 2016;58:317-25.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
3.
Gopalan MR, Karunakaran V, Prabhakaran A, Jayakumar KL. Prevalence of psychiatric morbidity among cancer patients-hospital-based, cross-sectional survey. Indian J Psychiatry 2016;58:275-80.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
4.
Agarwal A, Agarwal M, Garg K, Dalal PK, Trivedi JK, Srivastava JS. Metabolic syndrome and central obesity in depression: A cross-sectional study. Indian J Psychiatry 2016;58:281-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
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5.
Singh P, Shah R, Midha P, Soni A, Bagotia S, Gaur KL. Revisiting profile of deliberate self-harm at a tertiary care hospital after an interval of 10 years. Indian J Psychiatry 2016;58:301-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
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6.
Streiner DL. Breaking up is hard to do: The heartbreak of dichotomizing continuous data. Can J Psychiatry 2002;47:262-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Andrade C. Categorizing continuous variables. Can J Psychiatry 2002;47:35.  Back to cited text no. 7
    

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Correspondence Address:
Chittaranjan Andrade
Department of Psychopharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_99_17

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