Behavioral Epidemiology: Principles and Applications

ISBN: 9781449648275
ISBN-10: 1449648274
Copyright: 2016
Edition: 1st
Author: Merrill, Ray M., Frankenfeld, Cara, Mink, Michael, Freeborne, Nancy,
Doody's Expert Review    Score: 94
Reviewer: Jennifer Schlichting,  PhD, MS  (University of Iowa College of Public Health)
This book succinctly, yet comprehensively, covers the underlying theories and application of health education and promotion and epidemiology to population health.
According to the authors, the purpose "is to advance the field of public health by providing epidemiologic tools to behavioral scientists and behavioral context to epidemiologists." These are worthy objectives because, while there is some overlap in the practice of these public health fields, those in health education and promotion may find the application of the epidemiological methods and biostatistics helpful in identifying behavioral targets for public health interventions, while epidemiologists may find the health behavior and promotion theories informative when examining disease risk and prevention factors, many of which will involve human behaviors. The book largely meets the objectives, with a thorough discussion of epidemiology applied to behavioral disease risk factors. Additional discussion of how health behavior theory can inform epidemiological studies and their design would have furthered this objective.
The authors intend the book for behavioral scientists looking for epidemiological tools and epidemiologists looking for behavioral context. However, the book appears more geared to the former with a heavy emphasis on the application of basic epidemiological and biostatistical research methods, and less emphasis on orienting trained epidemiologists to human behavior theory. In any event, this would serve as a good entry-level book for beginner epidemiology students interested in behavioral causes of disease, as well as for behavioral scientists, especially those who trained outside of the public health field, interested in using epidemiological methods for their research.
In addition to covering health behavior theory and epidemiological and biostatistical methods, the book lays out a beginning framework for the steps involved in conducting an epidemiological research study, including design, data collection and sources, and analysis. This will be a great resource for beginning epidemiology students interested in behavioral research, as well for behavioral researchers interested in conducting epidemiological studies. The book is relatively brief, and the summaries at the end of the chapters make for efficient reading and review. Figures clearly depict and enhance understanding of health behavior and epidemiological causation models, while the tables allow for quick review of theories and statistical formulas. The case studies at the end further enhance the application of the information.
While other beginning books cover health behavior and promotion models as well as epidemiology, this book serves as a good, succinct resource, especially for beginning students with an interest in behavioral epidemiology. It appears geared toward behavioral scientists, especially those not trained in public health, looking for an introduction to epidemiologic methods, and the specific coverage of behavioral risk factors will likely be of more interest and value to this group than other introductory epidemiology books widely in use, such as Epidemiology: An Introduction, 2nd edition, Rothman (Oxford University Press, 2012) or Epidemiology, 5th edition, Gordis (Elsevier, 2014)).
Review Questionnaire
Range Question Score
1-10 Are the author's objectives met? 10
1-10 Rate the worthiness of those objectives. 10
1-5 Is this written at an appropriate level? 5
1-5 Is there significant duplication? (1=significant, 5=insignificant) 4
1-5 Are there significant omissions? (1=significant, 5=insignificant) 4
1-5 Rate the authority of the authors. 4
1-5 Are there sufficient illustrations? 5
1-5 Rate the pedagogic value of the illustrations. 4
1-5 Rate the print quality of the illustrations. 4
1-5 Are there sufficient references? 5
1-5 Rate the currency of the references. 5
1-5 Rate the pertinence of the references. 5
1-5 Rate the helpfulness of the index. 5
1-5 If important in this specialty, rate the physical appearance of the book N/A
1-10 Is this a worthwhile contribution to the field? 10
1-10 If this is a 2nd or later edition, is this new edition needed? N/A