Misreporting Results and Publication Bias Common in Psychiatry Research

This report by Zenobia Morrill has been published by Mad in America. It begins:

“A new paper in Schizophrenia Bulletin presents evidence that publication bias and outcome reporting bias in psychiatry research are common and concerning. These biases overestimate the efficacy of psychiatric treatments for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The researchers specifically examined clinical trials funded by the Stanley Medical Research Institute with which they are affiliated.

Their findings challenge the validity of the evidence base on which psychiatrists make clinical decisions:

‘We conclude that publication bias and outcome reporting bias are common in papers reporting RCTs in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. These data have major implications regarding the validity of the reports of clinical trials published in the literature.

Publication bias is when the results of a study influence whether or not it is published. Publication bias undermines the scientific process through the misrepresentation of study outcomes. For instance, it is important that disconfirming evidence, such as evidence that a treatment has failed to result in improvement, is published and considered. Otherwise, publication bias gives rise to distorted claims of efficacy, as has been demonstrated in the research on treatment for depression (see MIA report).

Outcome reporting bias is when authors selectively report study outcomes. Both publication bias and outcome reporting bias undermine the scientific evidence base in that they are misleading and obfuscate the effects of a treatment or intervention. Bowcut and colleagues explain: …”

You can read more from here.

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