Poor Instruments Lead to Poor Inferences: Comment on Roberts, Glymour, and Koenen (2013)
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Roberts, Glymour, and Koenen (2013) reported results of an empirical study concerning the nature of the association between childhood sexual abuse and adult homosexuality. Sexual contact with adults (including childhood sexual abuse) is especially common among young people who will become homosexual adults; the association is robust and worthy of empirical attention. A number of hypotheses, some of which posit that childhood sexual abuse causes adult homosexuality and some of which do not, are consistent with the correlation. The study by Roberts et al. attempted to test the hypothesis that childhood sexual abuse is a cause of adult homosexuality. The study had an admirably large and representative sample, and it employed the sophisticated statistical methodology of instrumental variables regression, which can under some circumstances provide good evidence for causation using correlational data. Indeed, Roberts et al. concluded from their analyses that “childhood maltreatment,”...
KeywordsSexual Orientation Childhood Maltreatment Instrumental Variable Childhood Sexual Abuse Natural Experiment
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