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date: 18 June 2018

Abstract and Keywords

The rapid rise of mental illness and its sequelae has been well documented recently and has even led some to cogitate the possibility of an epidemic (e.g., Angell, 2011). Biological connotations aside, we find disease mechanisms and terminology useful metaphors for a variety of psychological outcomes and not just the spread or aggregation of mental illness. Just as computer science spawned new ideas in cognitive psychology, we consider the toolkit of the epidemiologist rife with potential for advancing methods, theories, and analysis for a vast array of psychological phenomena. The chapter that follows was written with two broad purposes in mind. First, we attempt to cover basic terminology, methods, and analyses of epidemiology and biostatistics for readers who may be new to the material and for those who seek a quick refresher. Second, we provide examples of advanced epidemiologic modeling with applications in the psychological sciences that may motivate continued and novel attempts to incorporate outcomes and methods across these two disciplines. Both epidemiology and psychology have much to share with one another, and we highlight some of their more prominent areas of overlap in our concluding section. We hope the material included helps narrow gaps in communication between these two influential areas of study and that researchers from each field discover renewed interest in the methods and outcomes of their closely entwined scientific relative.

Keywords: Epidemiologic methods, psychiatric epidemiology, social epidemics, disease, biostatistics, health, disease mapping, infectious disease modeling, EMOSA, epidemic, social contagion, social science methods

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