Because it describes the proportion of disease cases that could be prevented if an exposure were entirely eliminated from a target population as a result of an intervention, estimation of the population attributable risk (PAR) has become an important goal of public health research. In epidemiologic studies, categorical covariates are often misclassified. We present methods for obtaining point and interval estimates of the PAR and the partial PAR (pPAR) in the presence of misclassification, filling an important existing gap in public health evaluation methods. We use a likelihood-based approach to estimate parameters in the models for the disease and for the misclassification process, under main study/internal validation study and main study/external validation study designs, and various plausible assumptions about transportability. We assessed the finite sample perf ormance of this method via a simulation study, and used it to obtain corrected point and interval estimates of the pPAR for high red meat intake and alcohol intake in relation to colorectal cancer incidence in the HPFS, where we found that the estimated pPAR for the two risk factors increased by up to 317% after correcting for bias due to misclassification.

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