Using Non-Experimental Data to Estimate Treatment Effects

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore.
Psychiatric Annals (Impact Factor: 0.71). 07/2009; 39(7):41451. DOI: 10.3928/00485713-20090625-07
Source: PubMed


While much psychiatric research is based on randomized controlled trials (RCTs), where patients are randomly assigned to treatments, sometimes RCTs are not feasible. This paper describes propensity score approaches, which are increasingly used for estimating treatment effects in non-experimental settings. The primary goal of propensity score methods is to create sets of treated and comparison subjects who look as similar as possible, in essence replicating a randomized experiment, at least with respect to observed patient characteristics. A study to estimate the metabolic effects of antipsychotic medication in a sample of Florida Medicaid beneficiaries with schizophrenia illustrates methods.

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