Statistical Science

The Statistical Precision of Medical Screening Procedures: Application to Polygraph and AIDS Antibodies Test Data

Joseph L. Gastwirth

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Abstract

The increased use of screening tests for drug use or antibodies to the HTLV-III (AIDS) virus, as well as pre-employment polygraph testing, has raised concerns about the reliability of the results of these procedures. This paper reviews the mathematical model underlying the analysis of data from screening tests. In addition to the known formulas for the proportion of positive (negative) classifications that are correct, we provide a large sample approximation to their standard errors. The results reinforce the need for confirmatory tests and indicate that moderately large sample sizes should be used to determine the accuracy rates of screening tests that will be applied to the general population in which the prevalence of the disease or trait is low.

Article information

Source
Statist. Sci., Volume 2, Number 3 (1987), 213-222.

Dates
First available in Project Euclid: 19 April 2007

Permanent link to this document
https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.ss/1177013215

Digital Object Identifier
doi:10.1214/ss/1177013215

Mathematical Reviews number (MathSciNet)
MR920139

Zentralblatt MATH identifier
0955.62636

JSTOR
links.jstor.org

Keywords
Screening tests polygraph specificity sensitivity predictive value of a positive test large sample theory

Citation

Gastwirth, Joseph L. The Statistical Precision of Medical Screening Procedures: Application to Polygraph and AIDS Antibodies Test Data. Statist. Sci. 2 (1987), no. 3, 213--222. doi:10.1214/ss/1177013215. https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.ss/1177013215


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See also

  • See Comment: D. H. Kaye. [The Statistical Precision of Medical Screening Procedures: Application to Polygraph and AIDS Antibodies Test Data]: Comment: The Polygraph and the PVP. Statist. Sci., Volume 2, Number 3 (1987), 223--226.
  • See Comment: John C. Kircher, David C. Raskin. [The Statistical Precision of Medical Screening Procedures: Application to Polygraph and AIDS Antibodies Test Data]: Comment: Base Rates and the Statistical Precision. Statist. Sci., Volume 2, Number 3 (1987), 226--228.
  • See Comment: Janet Wittes. [The Statistical Precision of Medical Screening Procedures: Application to Polygraph and AIDS Antibodies Test Data]: Comment. Statist. Sci., Volume 2, Number 3 (1987), 228--230.
  • See Comment: Judith D. Goldberg. [The Statistical Precision of Medical Screening Procedures: Application to Polygraph and AIDS Antibodies Test Data]: Comment. Statist. Sci., Volume 2, Number 3 (1987), 230--231.
  • See Comment: Seymour Geisser. [The Statistical Precision of Medical Screening Procedures: Application to Polygraph and AIDS Antibodies Test Data]: Comment. Statist. Sci., Volume 2, Number 3 (1987), 231--232.
  • See Comment: Beth C. Gladen. [The Statistical Precision of Medical Screening Procedures: Application to Polygraph and AIDS Antibodies Test Data]: Comment. Statist. Sci., Volume 2, Number 3 (1987), 233--233.
  • See Comment: Joseph L. Gastwirth. [The Statistical Precision of Medical Screening Procedures: Application to Polygraph and AIDS Antibodies Test Data]: Rejoinder. Statist. Sci., Volume 2, Number 3 (1987), 234--238.