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The problem of bias in behavioural intervention studies: Lessons from the PACE trial

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By C. Wilshire
 
Abstract
 
Geraghty’s recent editorial on the PACE trial for chronic fatigue syndrome has stimulated a lively discussion. Here, I consider whether the published claims are justified by the data. I also discuss wider issues concerning trial procedures, researcher allegiance and participant reporting bias. Cognitive behavioural therapy and graded exercise therapy had modest, time-limited effects on self-report measures, but little effect on more objective measures such as fitness and employment status. Given that the trial was non-blinded, and the favoured treatments were promoted to participants as ‘highly effective’, these effects may reflect participant response bias. In non-blinded trials, the issue of reporting biases deserves greater attention in future.

Source: Wilshire C. The problem of bias in behavioural intervention studies: Lessons from the PACE trial. J Health Psychol. 2017 Aug;22(9):1128-1133. doi: 10.1177/1359105317700885. Epub 2017 Mar 23.

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