The selection and design of control conditions for randomized controlled trials of psychological interventions

David C Mohr, Bonnie Spring, Kenneth E. Freedland, Victoria Beckner, Patricia Arean, Steven D. Hollon, Judith Ockene, Robert Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

199 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The randomized controlled trial (RCT) provides critical support for evidence-based practice using psychological interventions. The control condition is the principal method of removing the influence of unwanted variables in RCTs. There is little agreement or consistency in the design and construction of control conditions. Because control conditions have variable effects, the results of RCTs can depend as much on control condition selection as on the experimental intervention. The aim of this paper is to present a framework for the selection and design of control conditions for these trials. Threats to internal validity arising from modern RCT methodology are reviewed and reconsidered. The strengths and weaknesses of several categories of control conditions are examined, including the ones that are under experimental control, the ones that are under the control of clinical service providers, and no-treatment controls. Considerations in the selection of control conditions are discussed and several recommendations are proposed. The aim of this paper is to begin to define principles by which control conditions can be selected or developed in a manner that can assist both investigators and grant reviewers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-284
Number of pages10
JournalPsychotherapy and Psychosomatics
Volume78
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009

Fingerprint

Randomized Controlled Trials
Psychology
Organized Financing
Evidence-Based Practice
Research Personnel

Keywords

  • Psychological interventions
  • Randomized controlled trial, control conditions
  • Randomized controlled trial, methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Mohr, David C ; Spring, Bonnie ; Freedland, Kenneth E. ; Beckner, Victoria ; Arean, Patricia ; Hollon, Steven D. ; Ockene, Judith ; Kaplan, Robert. / The selection and design of control conditions for randomized controlled trials of psychological interventions. In: Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. 2009 ; Vol. 78, No. 5. pp. 275-284.
@article{bedec660c26f4c27a49bb9512d2cee81,
title = "The selection and design of control conditions for randomized controlled trials of psychological interventions",
abstract = "The randomized controlled trial (RCT) provides critical support for evidence-based practice using psychological interventions. The control condition is the principal method of removing the influence of unwanted variables in RCTs. There is little agreement or consistency in the design and construction of control conditions. Because control conditions have variable effects, the results of RCTs can depend as much on control condition selection as on the experimental intervention. The aim of this paper is to present a framework for the selection and design of control conditions for these trials. Threats to internal validity arising from modern RCT methodology are reviewed and reconsidered. The strengths and weaknesses of several categories of control conditions are examined, including the ones that are under experimental control, the ones that are under the control of clinical service providers, and no-treatment controls. Considerations in the selection of control conditions are discussed and several recommendations are proposed. The aim of this paper is to begin to define principles by which control conditions can be selected or developed in a manner that can assist both investigators and grant reviewers.",
keywords = "Psychological interventions, Randomized controlled trial, control conditions, Randomized controlled trial, methodology",
author = "Mohr, {David C} and Bonnie Spring and Freedland, {Kenneth E.} and Victoria Beckner and Patricia Arean and Hollon, {Steven D.} and Judith Ockene and Robert Kaplan",
year = "2009",
month = "8",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1159/000228248",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "78",
pages = "275--284",
journal = "Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics",
issn = "0033-3190",
publisher = "S. Karger AG",
number = "5",

}

The selection and design of control conditions for randomized controlled trials of psychological interventions. / Mohr, David C; Spring, Bonnie; Freedland, Kenneth E.; Beckner, Victoria; Arean, Patricia; Hollon, Steven D.; Ockene, Judith; Kaplan, Robert.

In: Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Vol. 78, No. 5, 01.08.2009, p. 275-284.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

TY - JOUR

T1 - The selection and design of control conditions for randomized controlled trials of psychological interventions

AU - Mohr, David C

AU - Spring, Bonnie

AU - Freedland, Kenneth E.

AU - Beckner, Victoria

AU - Arean, Patricia

AU - Hollon, Steven D.

AU - Ockene, Judith

AU - Kaplan, Robert

PY - 2009/8/1

Y1 - 2009/8/1

N2 - The randomized controlled trial (RCT) provides critical support for evidence-based practice using psychological interventions. The control condition is the principal method of removing the influence of unwanted variables in RCTs. There is little agreement or consistency in the design and construction of control conditions. Because control conditions have variable effects, the results of RCTs can depend as much on control condition selection as on the experimental intervention. The aim of this paper is to present a framework for the selection and design of control conditions for these trials. Threats to internal validity arising from modern RCT methodology are reviewed and reconsidered. The strengths and weaknesses of several categories of control conditions are examined, including the ones that are under experimental control, the ones that are under the control of clinical service providers, and no-treatment controls. Considerations in the selection of control conditions are discussed and several recommendations are proposed. The aim of this paper is to begin to define principles by which control conditions can be selected or developed in a manner that can assist both investigators and grant reviewers.

AB - The randomized controlled trial (RCT) provides critical support for evidence-based practice using psychological interventions. The control condition is the principal method of removing the influence of unwanted variables in RCTs. There is little agreement or consistency in the design and construction of control conditions. Because control conditions have variable effects, the results of RCTs can depend as much on control condition selection as on the experimental intervention. The aim of this paper is to present a framework for the selection and design of control conditions for these trials. Threats to internal validity arising from modern RCT methodology are reviewed and reconsidered. The strengths and weaknesses of several categories of control conditions are examined, including the ones that are under experimental control, the ones that are under the control of clinical service providers, and no-treatment controls. Considerations in the selection of control conditions are discussed and several recommendations are proposed. The aim of this paper is to begin to define principles by which control conditions can be selected or developed in a manner that can assist both investigators and grant reviewers.

KW - Psychological interventions

KW - Randomized controlled trial, control conditions

KW - Randomized controlled trial, methodology

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=67650172322&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=67650172322&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1159/000228248

DO - 10.1159/000228248

M3 - Review article

VL - 78

SP - 275

EP - 284

JO - Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics

JF - Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics

SN - 0033-3190

IS - 5

ER -