A study is made of the effects of associated causes of death, and of dependency among causes of death, by observing the relative importance of one cause of death when another is eliminated under various competing risk models. Two disease pairs, cancer and infectious disease and stroke and ischemic heart disease, are selected for analysis because they represent different types of disease dependence. Crude probabilities of death for each disease are calculated for the U.S. white male population in 1969. Next, the effects of the complementary disease in a pair are hypothetically eliminated in one of three ways: (a) a standard competing risk adjustment for cause elimination when deaths are singly caused (Chiang, 1968), (b) lethal defect-pattern of failure computations for multiply caused death when no causal order is inferred (Manton et al., 1976), and (c) relative susceptibility computations for multiply caused deaths when causes are ordered (Wong, 1977). The paper closes with a discussion of the relative merits of the three types of adjustments.

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