An N-pact factor for clinical psychological research

Kathleen W. Reardon*, Avanté J. Smack, Kathrin Herzhoff, Jennifer L. Tackett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although an emphasis on adequate sample size and statistical power has a long history in clinical psychological science (Cohen, 1992), increased attention to the replicability of scientific findings has renewed focus on the importance of statistical power (Bakker, van Dijk, & Wicherts, 2012). These recent efforts have not yet circled back to modern clinical psychological research, despite the importance of sample size and power in producing a credible body of evidence. As one step in this process of scientific self-examination, the present study estimated an N-pact Factor (the statistical power of published empirical studies to detect typical effect sizes; Fraley & Vazire, 2014) in 2 leading clinical journals (the Journal of Abnormal Psychology [JAP] and the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology [JCCP]) for the years 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2015. Study sample size, as one proxy for statistical power, is a useful focus because it allows comparisons with other subfields and may highlight some of the core methodological differences between clinical and other areas. We found that, across all years examined, the average median sample size in clinical research was 179 participants (175 for JAP and 182 for JCCP). The power to detect a small to medium effect size of .20 is just below 80% for both journals. Although the clinical N-pact factor was higher than that estimated for social psychology, the statistical power in clinical journals is still limited to detect many effects of interest to clinical psychologists, with little evidence of improvement in sample sizes over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-499
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Volume128
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Keywords

  • Clinical psychology
  • Metascience
  • Power
  • Replicability
  • Sample size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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