Prevalence and Incidence in the Study of Antisocial Behavior: Definitions and Measurements

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Abstract

In epidemiology, the concepts of prevalence and incidence are central (Bradford Hill, 1977; Last, 1983; Morris, 1975). Basically, prevalence (or prevalence rate) refers to the number of diseases or spells of disease existing at a particular point in time or within a specified time period related to the total number of persons exposed to risk (a population or a defined group of people). Incidence (or incidence rate) on the other hand measures the rate of appearance of new cases in the group or population, i.e., the number of diseases/spells of disease beginning within a specified period of time related to the total number of persons exposed to risk during that period.1