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Psychiatrists' appreciation of statistical v. clinical significance: a quick test

  • Alan Smith (a1) and James Warner (a2)
Abstract
Aims and Method

Pharmaceutical advertising material can confuse clinical and statistical significance. We used a brief questionnaire (five questions) to evaluate psychiatrists' appreciation of this difference. This approximated to the level of critical appraisal competence of the MRCPsych part 3 examination.

Results

Of the 113 questionnaires distributed 93 were returned complete (response rate 82%). Senior trainees were significantly better than junior trainees at correctly interpreting data (mean score (maximum 5) 2.61v.2.08; P = 0.04). Consultants did less well than senior trainees, although our sample of consultant respondents was too small for significance testing.

Clinical Implications

Learning critical appraisal for the MRCPsych examination may provide psychiatrists with valuable transferable skills and prevent gaps in our knowledge being exploited by misleading study data. Psychiatrists of all grades need to maintain their research appraisal skills and should not regard the MRCPsych examination as the end of their learning.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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1 Casares, F, Rufino, MJ, Cutanda, J, Rodriguez Gorriz, E, Muruno, C, Gomez Garcia, B. The scientific information that the pharmaceutical industry provides to family doctors. Aten Primaria 2005; 36: 14–8.
2 Lexchin, J, Bero, LA, Djulbegovic, B, Clark, O. Pharmaceutical industry sponsorship and research outcome and quality: systematic review. BMJ 2003; 326: 1167–70.
3 Everitt, BS, Wessely, S. Clinical Trials in Psychiatry. Oxford University Press, 2004
4 Peduzzi, P, Wittes, J, Detre, K. Analysis-as-randomized and the problem of non-adherence – an example from the veterans affairs randomized trial of coronary-artery bypass surgery. Stat Med 1993; 12: 1185–92.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Psychiatrists' appreciation of statistical v. clinical significance: a quick test

  • Alan Smith (a1) and James Warner (a2)
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