What is another word for "predictor"?

"...peer alcohol use is one of the strongest predictors of adolescent alcohol use."

The word "indicator" isn't quite right, because I am looking for a word that literally means "predicts" or "forecasts" (forecaster is a bit awkward in this sentence, but something with a similar meaning would be great).

  • Perhaps it could be described as one of the strongest correlates - for that is what they effectively mean, don't they? 'Peer alcohol use' doesn't actually predict things does it?
    – WS2
    Nov 14, 2015 at 0:12
  • 1
    @WS2 It is a predictor, that's the word used in statistics and technical studies. And the child of an alcoholic parent has a greater probability of becoming an alcoholic in its adult life.
    – Centaurus
    Nov 14, 2015 at 0:20

2 Answers 2


In an epidemiologic context, "predictors of" could be replaced with "risk factors for"

  • "risk factor" - "something which increases risk or susceptibility"
    e.g. - A fatty diet is a risk factor for heart disease.

or "an indicator of"

  • "indicator" - "something that provides an indication, esp of trends."

e.g. - Reduced galectin-3 expression is an indicator of unfavorable prognosis in gastric cancer.

  • risk factor is a great option! Thank-you so much for your input @Centaurus!
    – McB
    Nov 14, 2015 at 0:28

Consider forerunner.

Definition: an omen; a sign or indication beforehand of something to follow; a portent; a premonitory symptom

Example: Cruelty to animals is often a forerunner of domestic abuse or abuse against children and other types of activities of violence against human beings.

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