Content and methods of studies on the prevention and treatment of mental disorders in selected psychiatric journals.
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Studies on psychiatric treatments published in 1986 were reviewed in five major psychiatric journals (Am. J. Psychiatry, Can. J. Psychiatry, Arch. Gen. Psychiatry, Am. J. Orthopsychiatry and Am. Acad. Child Psychiatry). Articles on prevention and treatment represent only 27% of the total of titles (194 out of 731 articles). The studies reviewed focus mostly on the treatment of adults, on psychoses, on the short term effect of treatment and on the effect of treatment rather than its process. Almost no information is published on the evaluation of the process or on the cost of treatment. Studies are for the most part original, but they tend to be studies without controls rather than randomized or non-randomized controlled trials. Interpretation of results rely essentially on statistical significance and almost no attention is paid to the evaluation of impact, in epidemiological terms, of the cause-effect relationship and to the clinical relevance of observed differences. Psychiatrists who read only a few major journals of psychiatry should get more information on therapeutic and preventive interventions in comparison to other components of clinical work and to clinical course of disease.
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