statistical control

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Statistical techniques for excluding the influence of specified variables in an analysis. For example, if the data from a sample survey showed a strong association between unemployment and clinical depression, one might want to control for the effect of social class. Partitioning the data by class (middle versus working) would establish whether or not the relationship between unemployment and depression is constant across all classes. Similarly, an observed association between class and clinical depression might well disappear, once a control is introduced for unemployment. (Working-class people are no more likely to suffer from depression than middle-class people, but they are more likely to be unemployed, and the unemployed are more likely to be depressed than are those in work.)

Subjects: Sociology.

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