Print this page

The Five Main Rubrics of Epidemiology, with Illustrations from Psychiatry Research

James C. Anthony, M.Sc., Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Epidemiology,
College of Human Medicine,
Michigan State University

Untangling the jargon of epidemiology can be confusing. In this presentation, Dr. James Anthony carefully outlines the five main concepts of epidemiology: 1) quantity- how many people are/have been affected; 2) location- what increases risk; 3) causes- why people are getting sick; 4) mechanisms- how are people getting sick; 5) prevention and control- what to do about it. Each concept, or ‘rubric,’ is explained using an empirical study. Dr. Anthony recommends these five rubrics be used by anyone interested in learning about the distribution of a disease in a population.