Understanding Linear Regressions

Discussion: Understanding Linear Regressions

Public health literature often references results of multiple linear regressions. While it may seem logical to accept any conclusions found within peer-reviewed journal articles, enough misleading material is published to justify a more analytical approach in reviewing the literature. This is especially true when reading conclusions based on multiple linear regression results.

Understanding the goal of research, and determining whether an appropriate choice of analysis was used, can help researchers to better interpret results. For example, a regression line is only a valid predictor of the behavior of the data it represents. The conclusion drawn from a multiple linear regression on the effect of coffee consumption on blood pressure will not allow for predictions of future blood pressure based on an individual’s coffee consumption.

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For this Discussion, select one of the journal articles in the Learning Resources under “For this Discussion”.

With these thoughts in mind:


Post, find and discuss the following key elements of the article you selected:

  • Identify variables: independent variable(s), dependent variable(s), and confounders.
  • What was the research question?
  • Why was Multiple Linear Regression used?
  • What was the main result(s)?
  • What was the interpretation?
  • What are your thoughts on the limitation(s) of the study?

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.

Learning Resources


Daniel, W. W. & Cross, C. L. (2019). Biostatistics: A foundation for analysis in the health sciences (11th ed.). Wiley.

  • Chapter 9 ,“Simple Linear Regression” (pp. 354-413)
  • Chapter 10, “Multiple Regression and Correlation” (pp. 416-454)
For the Discussion:


Krantz, M., Coronell, S., Whitley, E., Dale, R., Yost, J., Estacio, R. (2013). Effectiveness of a community health worker cardiovascular risk reduction program in public health and health care settings. American Journal of Public Health, 103(1), 19-27.


Weil, M., Bressler, J., Parsons, P. Bolla, K., Glass, T. & Schwartz, B. (2005). Blood mercury levels and neurobehavioral function. JAMA, 293(15). 1875-1882



Williamson, D., Madans, J., Anda, R., Kleinman, J. Giovino, G. & Byers, T. (1991). Smoking cessation and severity of weight gain in a national cohort. New England Journal of Medicine, 324(11), 739-745.

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