Quality assessment of observational studies in psychiatry: An example from perinatal psychiatric research

Social and Epidemiological Research Department, Centre for Addiction & Mental Health, Toronto, ON, Canada.
International journal of methods in psychiatric research 12/2011; 20(4):224-34. DOI: 10.1002/mpr.356
Source: PubMed


In perinatal psychiatry, randomized controlled trials are often not feasible on ethical grounds. Many studies are observational in nature, while others employ large databases not designed primarily for research purposes. Quality assessment of the resulting research is complicated by a lack of standardized tools specifically for this purpose. The aim of this paper is to describe the Systematic Assessment of Quality in Observational Research (SAQOR), a quality assessment tool our team devised for a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of evidence-based literature regarding risks and benefits of antidepressant medication during pregnancy.

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    • "Various approaches have been proposed for improving the quality of reporting and evaluation of observational studies (Sanderson, Tatt, & Higgins, 2007; Stroup et al., 2000; Vandenbroucke et al., 2007). For this review, we elected to use the Systematic Assessment of Quality in Observational Research (SAQOR) system, which has been recently developed specifically for assessing quality in psychiatry research (Ross et al., 2011). SAQOR evaluates studies in six domains: Sample, Control/ Comparison Group, Quality of Exposure/Outcome Measurements, Follow-Up, Distorting Influences, and Reporting Data. "
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