Deconfounding confounding part 2: using directed acyclic graphs (DAGs)

John R Attia, Christopher Oldmeadow, Elizabeth G Holliday and Michael P Jones
Med J Aust 2017; 206 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/mja16.01167
Published online: 19 June 2017

In the previous article on confounding in this series,1 we presented the traditional explanation of a confounder. Over the past few decades, it has become clear that this definition has many limitations. For example, confounding can be induced by a network of variables rather than just a single variable, and adjusting for potential confounders can paradoxically increase confounding.

  • John R Attia1,2
  • Christopher Oldmeadow1
  • Elizabeth G Holliday3
  • Michael P Jones4

  • 1 Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW
  • 2 John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, NSW
  • 3 Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle, NSW
  • 4 Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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