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Kaufman, Jay S.; Geronimus, Arline T.; & James, Sherman A. (2007). Faulty Interpretation of Observed Racial Disparity in Recurrent Preterm Birth. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 197(3), 327.


Kistka et al reported that black women in Missouri had a higher risk of preterm delivery and recurrent preterm delivery than white women and that these differences persisted after adjustment for some variables available from birth certificates. Aside from the statistical error of not accounting for clustering by the mother in the variance estimation, the analysis is unremarkable. What is problematic is the authors’ interpretation. The adjusted odds ratio for black race represents the contrast conditioned on measured predictors and demonstrates a persistent excess risk for black women. This excess risk is caused by factors that were not measured, but the authors vigorously asserted that these unmeasured factors are most likely genetic.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology


Kaufman, Jay S.
Geronimus, Arline T.
James, Sherman A.