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Epidemiologic Methods

Edited by faculty of the Harvard School of Public Health

Ed. by Tchetgen Tchetgen, Eric J / VanderWeele, Tyler J. / Daniel, Rhian

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Sample Size and Power Calculations for Additive Interactions

Tyler J. VanderWeele
Published Online: 2012-08-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/2161-962X.1010


Interactions measured on the additive scale are more relevant than multiplicative interaction for assessing public health importance and also more closely related to notions of mechanistic synergism. Most work on sample size and power calculations for interaction have focused on the multiplicative scale. Here we derive analytic expressions for sample size and power calculations for interactions on the additive scale. We give formulae for detecting additive interaction on the risk scale from a cohort study, formulae for detecting additive interaction using the relative excess risk for interaction from a logistic regression with cohort data, and formulae for detecting additive interaction for the relative excess risk for interaction from a logistic regression with case-control data. When main effects of both exposures are positive, power to detect positive interaction on the additive scale will be greater than that on the multiplicative scale. Excel spreadsheets are provided for power and sample size calculations for additive, multiplicative, and case-only interaction estimates.

This article offers supplementary material which is provided at the end of the article.

Keywords: additive interaction; effect heterogeneity; power; relative excess risk due to interaction; sample size; synergism

About the article

Published Online: 2012-08-29

Citation Information: Epidemiologic Methods, Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 159–188, ISSN (Online) 2161-962X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/2161-962X.1010.

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