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Appraising evidence for intervention effectiveness in early psychosis: conceptual framework and review of evaluation approaches


Catts, SV and O'Toole, BI and Carr, VJ and Lewin, T and Neil, A and Harris, MG and Frost, AD and Crissman, BR and Eadie, K and Evans, RW, Appraising evidence for intervention effectiveness in early psychosis: conceptual framework and review of evaluation approaches, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 44, (3) pp. 195-219. ISSN 0004-8674 (2010) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2010 Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists

DOI: doi:10.3109/00048670903487167


The literature that is relevant to evaluation of treatment effectiveness is large, scattered and difficult to assemble for appraisal. This scoping review first develops a conceptual framework to help organize the field, and second, uses the framework to appraise early psychosis intervention (EPI) studies. Literature searches were used to identify representative study designs, which were then sorted according to evaluation approach. The groupings provided a conceptual framework upon which a map of the field could be drawn. Key words were cross-checked against definitions in dictionaries of scientific terms and the National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) browser. Using the final list of key words as search terms, the EPI evaluation literature was appraised. Experimental studies could be grouped into two classes: efficacy and effectiveness randomized controlled trials. Non-experimental studies could be subgrouped into at least four overlapping categories: clinical epidemiological; health service evaluations; quality assurance studies; and, quasi-experimental assessments of treatment effects. Applying this framework to appraise EPI studies indicated promising evidence for the effectiveness of EPI irrespective of study design type, and a clearer picture of where future evaluation efforts should be focused. Reliance on clinical trials alone will restrict the type of information that can inform clinical practice. There is convergent evidence for the benefits of specialized EPI service functions across a range of study designs. Greater investment in health services research and quality assurance approaches in evaluating EPI effectiveness should be made, which will involve scaling up of study sizes and development of an EPI programme fidelity rating template. The degree of complexity of the evaluation field suggests that greater focus on research methodology in the training of Australasian psychiatrists is urgently needed.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:early psychosis , evaluation , methodology , study design
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Neil, A (Associate Professor Amanda Neil)
ID Code:93280
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2014-07-24
Last Modified:2016-10-18

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