Published Online: 30 JAN 2010
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.
Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology
How to Cite
Kamphuis, J. H. 2010. Base Rates. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.
- Published Online: 30 JAN 2010
Base rates refer to the relative frequencies with which certain states or conditions occur in a population. The concept denotes the same as prevalence, a term often used by epidemiologists. A base rate is defined for and restricted to a specified population. In other words, a base rate is the a priori chance or prior odds that a member of a specified population will have a certain characteristic, assuming that we know nothing else about this person other than that he or she is a member of the population we are examining (Kamphuis & Finn, 2002). For example, the base rate of suicide in the general population is less than 1%, whereas the base rate of suicide for a more restricted population, for example, among patients with borderline personality disorder, may be as high as 10%.