15. Experimental Epidemiology

  1. Ming T. Tsuang2,3,
  2. Mauricio Tohen4,5 and
  3. Peter B. Jones6
  1. John R. Geddes

Published Online: 19 APR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470976739.ch15

Textbook of Psychiatric Epidemiology, Third Edition

Textbook of Psychiatric Epidemiology, Third Edition

How to Cite

Geddes, J. R. (2011) Experimental Epidemiology, in Textbook of Psychiatric Epidemiology, Third Edition (eds M. T. Tsuang, M. Tohen and P. B. Jones), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470976739.ch15

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Center for Behavioral Genomics, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla CA 92039, USA

  2. 3

    Harvard Institute of Psychiatric Epidemiology & Genetics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA

  3. 4

    Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Science Centre at San Antonio, USA

  4. 5

    Division of Mood and Anxiety Disorders, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7526 Louis Pasteur Drive, San Antonio TX 78229-3900, USA

  5. 6

    Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Box 189, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK

Author Information

  1. Oxford University, Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 APR 2011
  2. Published Print: 15 APR 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470694671

Online ISBN: 9780470976739



  • experimental epidemiology - cause and effect in psychiatric research;
  • commonly used experimental design - assessing effects of treatments, the randomised controlled trial (RCT);
  • limitations of non-randomised evidence - non-randomised evidence, being unclear;
  • seven main ways - trying to deal with confounding;
  • observational studies of drug therapies - propensity score matching increasingly used;
  • psychiatry, observational evidence - causal association between events occurring perinatally, and development of schizophrenia;
  • advantages and disadvantages of RCTs;
  • optimal design of randomised control trial - systematic and random error, limiting effects;
  • systematic error, or bias - undermining internal validity of trial, producing bias;
  • relationship between confidence, signal to noise ratio - and sample size in randomised controlled trials


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction

  • Limitations of non-randomised evidence

  • RCTs: The translation of the experimental design into the real world

  • Importance and control of systematic error or bias

  • Importance and control of random error and noise

  • Reporting the results of clinical trials—the CONSORT statement

  • Different clinical questions will prioritise control of different threats to validity and confidence

  • The classification of RCTs

  • Effectiveness trials in schizophrenia

  • Department of Veterans Affairs co-operative study on the cost-effectiveness of Olanzapine (Rosenheck)

  • The clinical antipsychotic trials of intervention effectiveness (CATIE) study

  • Cost utility of the latest antipsychotic drugs in schizophrenia study (CUtLASS 1)

  • European first-episode schizophrenia trial (EUFEST)

  • The size and cost of experimental studies in psychiatry

  • Clinical trials in the future

  • References