The use and reporting of cluster analysis in health psychology: A review
Version of Record online: 24 DEC 2010
2005 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Health Psychology
Volume 10, Issue 3, pages 329–358, September 2005
How to Cite
Clatworthy, Jane., Buick, Deanna., Hankins, Matthew., Weinman, John. and Horne, Robert. (2005), The use and reporting of cluster analysis in health psychology: A review. British Journal of Health Psychology, 10: 329–358. doi: 10.1348/135910705X25697
- Issue online: 24 DEC 2010
- Version of Record online: 24 DEC 2010
- Received 23 July 2003; revised version received 19 April 2004
Purpose Cluster analysis is a collection of relatively simple descriptive statistical techniques with potential value in health psychology, addressing both theoretical and practical problems. There are many methods of cluster analysis from which to choose, with no clear guidelines to aid researchers. In the absence of guidelines it is likely that methods already reported by published researchers will be adopted, and so clear reporting of statistical methodology, while always important, is particularly crucial with cluster analysis. The aim of this review is to describe and evaluate the reporting of cluster analysis in health psychology publications.
Methods Electronic searches of 18 health psychology journals identified 59 articles using cluster analysis published between 1984 and 2002. Articles were submitted to systematic evaluation against published criteria for the reporting of cluster analysis.
Results Just 27% of the papers reviewed met all five criteria, although 61% met at least four. Details of the similarity measure and the computer program used were most frequently omitted. Furthermore, while researchers usually reported the procedures employed to determine the number of clusters and to validate the clusters, these procedures were often lacking in rigour, and were reported in insufficient detail for replication.
Conclusions The reporting of cluster analysis was found to be generally unsatisfactory, with many studies failing to provide enough information to allow replication or the evaluation of the quality of the research. Clear guidelines for conducting and reporting cluster analyses in health psychology are needed.