Table 1

Principles of causality[5]
Principle Explanation
Strength the stronger the association, the more likely is causality*
Consistency the association exists in different contexts and times
Specificity the association is specific for the variable and one particular outcome*
Temporality the variable precedes the outcome*
Dose–response relationship an increase in the variable results in an increase in the outcome*
Plausibility plausible theories/mechanisms for explaining the association exist*
Coherence the causal theory is coherent with existing knowledge
Experimental manipulation manipulation of the variable results in changes in the outcome*
Analogy similar associations exist between different variables

Principles marked with an * are the principles discussed in the text.

Meijer et al.

Meijer et al. BMC Medicine 2013 11:130   doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-130

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