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(1990). Epidemiological evidence indicates Figure 2 (Bushman & Anderson, 2001, Table 1

asbestos causes laryngeal cancer. Journal of p. 481), we converted odds ratios to corre- Percentages for Amount of Smoking

Occupational Medicine, 32, 499 –507. lations. In their critique of our article, Among 605 Male Patients With

Weller, S. C. (1993). A meta-analysis of condom

effectiveness in reducing sexually transmitted

Block and Crain (2007, this issue) claimed, Lung Cancer and 780 Male

HIV. Social Science and Medicine, 36, 1635– “There is no data transformation that con- Patients Without Lung Cancer

1644. verts an odds ratio or relative risk into a

Cancer No cancer

Wells, A. J. (1998). Lung cancer from passive correlation” (p. 252). They further stated

Amount of

smoking at work. American Journal of Public that our transformation method is “wrong” smoking % n % n

Health, 88, 1025–1029. and “faulty” (p. xxx). They are incorrect. In

Wynder, E. L., & Graham, E. A. (1950). To- fact, there are many different methods for None 1.3 8 14.6 114

bacco smoking as a possible etiological factor transforming an odds ratio or relative risk Light 2.3 14 11.5 90

in brochiogenic carcinoma. Journal of the into a correlation. We used the following Moderate 10.1 61 19.0 148

American Medical Association, 143, 329 –

transformation proposed by Digby (1983): Heavy 35.2 213 35.6 278

336. Excessive 30.9 187 11.5 90

(OR3/4 ⫺ 1) / (OR3/4 ⫹ 1), where OR is the

odds ratio. Bonett (2007, this issue) pro- Chain 20.3 123 7.6 59

Correspondence concerning this comment vides a brief review of methods that trans- Note. Data are from Figure 3 in Wynder and Gra-

should be addressed to Jerald J. Block, 1314 NW form a relative risk or odds ratio into a ham (1950). The sum of counts of men with cancer

Irving Street #508, Portland, OR 97209. E-mail: correlation. equals 606 rather than 605 owing to rounding er-

jblock@aracnet.com ror. The sum of counts of men without cancer equals

Block and Crain (2007) also stated 779 rather than 780 owing to rounding error.

that at least 6 of the 9 comparison correla- None ⫽ less than 1 cigarette per day for more than

tions shown in Figure 2 of our 2001 article 20 years; light ⫽ 1–9 cigarettes per day for more

DOI:10.1037/0003-066X.62.3.253

were calculated incorrectly. Of course, dif- than 20 years; moderate ⫽ 10 –15 cigarettes per

day for more than 20 years; heavy ⫽ 16 –20 ciga-

ferent transformations will likely yield dif- rettes per day for more than 20 years; excessive ⫽

Measuring the Strength of the

ferent estimates, but in the present case the 21–34 cigarettes per day for more than 20 years;

Effect of Violent Media on different estimates generally do not vary chain ⫽ 35 or more cigarettes per day for more than

20 years.

Aggression that much. Block and Crain cited one ex-

ample where their estimate varies greatly

Brad J. Bushman from our estimate. To create the bar in our

University of Michigan Figure 2 that gives the correlation between

and Vrije Universiteit cigarette smoking and lung cancer, we used “Wynder and Graham’s (1950) Figure 1 (p.

data from Figure 1 (based on 100 male 332) is a subset of their Figure 3 (p. 333).

Craig A. Anderson patients with lung cancer and 186 male It is wrong to pool the data from these two

Iowa State University patients with other chest diseases; total figures; cases are counted twice.” This

N ⫽ 286) and Figure 3 (based on 605 statement is simply incorrect. In the para-

In our American Psychologist article patients with lung cancer and 780 male graph titled “Comparison of Independent

(June–July 2001), we presented a figure patients in the general hospital population Studies” (p. 332, emphasis added), Wynder

that compared the effect of violent media without lung cancer; total N ⫽ 1,385) in and Graham (1950) stated, “Before the

on aggression with other well-known ef- Wynder and Graham’s (1950) classic arti- smoking habits of the 605 patients with

fects (Bushman & Anderson, 2001, Figure cle. The phi coefficients computed from cancer of the lungs are compared with

2, p. 480). Because the strength of the their Figures 1 and 3 are .35 and .41, re- those of the general hospital population, it

relationship between violent media and ag- spectively. In our 2001 article, we com- might be well to compare the results of two

gression is unclear to many people, it is puted a weighted average of these two co- control studies” (p. 332). The data in

quite useful to compare it with other rela- efficients (i.e., [.35 ⫻ 286 ⫹ .41 ⫻ 1,385] Wynder and Graham’s Figure 1 are from

tionships with which people are more fa- / [286 ⫹ 1,385] ⫽ .40). The same estimates Control Study I.

we reported have also been reported by Second, Block and Crain (2007, p.

miliar (e.g., the relationship between ciga-

252) stated that our estimate is inaccurate:

rette smoking and lung cancer). For other researchers (e.g., Eron, 1996; Hues-

example, Youth Violence: A Report of the mann in Violence on Television, 1993). We repeated the calculation, using just Figure 3

Surgeon General contains a table of corre- Table 1 shows the calculations based from Wynder and Graham (1950). In doing so,

lations showing that TV violence is a larger on Figure 3 of Wynder and Graham’s we defined one variable as the amount of smok-

ing the patients engaged in, as coded in Table 2

risk factor for violence among children (1950) article. The frequency procedure in (p. 331) of Wynder and Graham (1950). The

6 –11 years old than other well-known vi- SAS yields the following correlations: phi second variable was a diagnosis of lung cancer

olence risk factors such as low IQ, being coefficient ⫽ .41, Spearman correlation ⫽ versus other diagnoses. The resulting correlation

from a broken home, having abusive par- .40, Pearson product–moment correlation was .90, not .40 as reported by Bushman and

ents, and having antisocial peers (U.S. De- coefficient ⫽ .40. The phi coefficient as- Anderson (2001, Figure 2, p. 481).

partment of Health and Human Services, sumes dichotomous data, the Spearman We could not replicate the .90 correlation

2001, Table 4-1). correlation assumes ordinal data, and the that Block and Crain (2007) computed, but

It is necessary, of course, to convert Pearson correlation assumes interval data. we suspect it is inaccurate. The correlations

different effect-size indices to a common Block and Crain (2007) criticized our we computed for Figure 3 ranged from .40

index so that people can more easily com- approach to computing the correlation be- to .41. A .90 correlation suggests that 81%

pare effects. We chose the correlation co- tween cigarette smoking and lung cancer (.902) of the variance in lung cancer is

efficient because it is familiar to many peo- on two grounds. First, they stated (p. 252), attributable to smoking cigarettes. This

leaves little room for other factors to influ- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

ence lung cancer (e.g., diet, exercise, ge- (2001). Youth violence: A report of the Sur- Table 1

netic predispositions). geon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Public 2 ⫻ 2 Contingency Table

Regarding our own meta-analysis, Health Service, Office of the Surgeon Gen-

Block and Crain (2007) stated that we “did eral. Retrieved June 9, 2006, from http:// y1 y2

not provide references for the studies in- www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/youthviolence/ x1 p11 p12 p1⫹

images/Table_4-1.gif

cluded in their meta-analysis; therefore it is x2 p21 p22 p2⫹

Violence on television: Hearings before the Sub-

impossible to replicate their study or deter- p⫹1 p⫹2

committee on Telecommunications and Fi-

mine if they again used the faulty transfor- nance of the House Committee on Energy and

mation to convert odds ratios and relative Commerce, 103rd Cong., 1st session, 44

risk to correlation coefficients” (p. 252). (1993) (testimony of L. Rowell Huesmann).

We did not include references for the stud- Wynder, E. L., & Graham, E. A. (1950). To-

ies in our meta-analysis because the editor bacco smoking as a possible etiological factor

of American Psychologist thought it would questions are of a sensitive nature (e.g.,

in brochiogenic carcinoma. Journal of the

be better to have interested individuals con- American Medical Association, 143, 329 –

income, alcohol consumption, body weight),

tact us directly for these references rather 336. the response rate is often higher if the re-

than to use valuable journal space listing spondent is simply asked to check one of

hundreds of references. These references two broad categories (e.g., less than

are readily available from Brad J. Bush- Correspondence concerning this comment $40,000 per year, $40,000 or more per

man. should be addressed to Brad J. Bushman, Insti- year) rather than a specific quantitative

We do agree with Block and Crain’s tute for Social Research, University of Michi- value. In other applications, genetic or psy-

(2007) conclusion that violent media ef- gan, 426 Thompson Street, Ann Arbor, MI chometric theory predicts the existence of a

fects constitute an important and controver-

48106. E-mail: bbushman@umich.edu latent quantitative variable that is observ-

sial topic and that the results from scientific able only on a dichotomous scale as a result

studies on media-related aggression need to of the latent variable exceeding, or not ex-

DOI:10.1037/0003-066X.62.3.254 ceeding, some unknown threshold value.

be accurate and replicable. Our 2001 article

Quantitative variables that are measured on

relied heavily on meta-analytic procedures Transforming Odds Ratios dichotomous scales are referred to as arti-

to integrate the literature on media-related

aggression. Meta-analytic procedures are

Into Correlations for Meta- ficially dichotomous.

Analytic Research When X and Y are naturally or artifi-

more objective, accurate, and replicable

cially dichotomous, data from a sample of

than are traditional narrative procedures

n respondents may be summarized in a 2 ⫻

(e.g., Bushman & Wells, 2001; Cooper & Douglas G. Bonett 2 contingency table as shown in Table 1,

Rosenthal, 1980). Although violence in the Iowa State University where pij are the cell proportions, pi⫹ is a

media is not the only factor that increases

marginal row proportion, and p⫹j is a mar-

aggression, or even the most important fac- Block and Crain (2007, this issue) stated, ginal column proportion. The association

tor, it is not a trivial factor. “There is no data transformation that con- in a 2 ⫻ 2 contingency table is often re-

verts an odds ratio or relative risk into a ported in terms of an odds ratio,

REFERENCES correlation. One needs more data” (p. 252).

The purpose of this comment is to explain OR ⫽ 共p 11 p22兲/共p12 p21兲,

Block, J. J., & Crain, B. R. (2007). Omissions how an odds ratio or relative risk can be

and errors in “Media Violence and the Amer- or a relative risk,

ican Public.” American Psychologist, 62, transformed to approximate a product–mo-

252–253. ment correlation. Such transformations RR ⫽ 共p 11/p 1⫹)/(p 21/p 2⫹),

Bonett, D. G. (2007). Transforming odds ratios have important applications in meta-ana-

into correlations for meta-analytic research. lytic research. where X is the predictor variable and y1 is

American Psychologist, 62, 254 –255. the response category of interest. A relative

Meta-analysis often involves the com-

Bushman, B. J., & Anderson, C. A. (2001). risk may be transformed into an odds ratio

bination of product–moment correlations

Media violence and the American public: Sci- using the following equality:

entific facts versus media misinformation.

obtained from multiple published studies.

American Psychologist, 56, 477– 489. A product–moment correlation between OR ⫽ RR兵共1 ⫺ p21/p2⫹兲/共1 ⫺ p11/p1⫹兲其.

Bushman, B. J., & Wells, G. L. (2001). Narrative two quantitative variables (X and Y) is

impressions of literature: The availability bias commonly referred to as a Pearson corre- In applications where the response cate-

and the corrective properties of meta-analytic lation. If one variable is naturally dichoto- gory (y1) is rare, note that p11 and p21 may

approaches. Personality and Social Psychol- be very small so that p1⫹ ⬇ p12, p2⫹⬇ p22,

mous (male/female, Treatment A/Treat-

ogy Bulletin, 27, 1123–1130. and thus RR ⬇ OR.

ment B, etc.) while the other variable is

Cooper, H. M., & Rosenthal, R. (1980). Statis- The problem of estimating the Pear-

tical versus traditional procedures for summa- quantitative, the product–moment correla- son correlation between two quantitative

rizing research findings. Psychological Bulle- tion between X and Y is called a point- variables using information from a 2 ⫻ 2

tin, 87, 442– 449. biserial correlation. If both X and Y are contingency table is one of the oldest prob-

Digby, P. G. N. (1983). Approximating the tet- naturally dichotomous, the product–mo- lems in statistics (Pearson, 1900) and in-

rachoric correlation coefficient. Biometrics, ment correlation between X and Y is called volves the computation of a tetrachoric

39, 753–757. a phi coefficient.

Eron, L. D. (1996, February 28). TV violence correlation. The computation of the exact

and its effect on kids. Invited address pre-

In contrast to naturally dichotomous tetrachoric correlation is complicated but

sented at the 49th Annual Convention of the variables, quantitative variables are some- may be obtained in the current version of

Ontario Psychological Association, Toronto, times measured on dichotomous scales. For SAS. If a study reports the odds ratio but

Ontario, Canada. instance, in survey research, where certain does not provide enough additional infor-

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