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The effects of advanced factor analysis approaches on depression randomised trial outcomes.pdf (324.95 kB)

The effects of advanced factor analysis approaches on outcomes in randomised trials for depression: protocol for secondary analysis of individual participant data

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posted on 2023-09-06, 11:07 authored by Frank DoyleFrank Doyle, David ByrneDavid Byrne, Robert M Carney, Pim Cuijpers, Alexandra L Dima, Kenneth Freedland, Suzanne Guerin, David Hevey, Bishember Kathuria, Shane Kelly, Stephen McBride, Emma WallaceEmma Wallace, Fiona BolandFiona Boland

Background: Modern psychometric methods make it possible to eliminate nonperforming items and reduce measurement error. Application of these methods to existing outcome measures can reduce variability in scores, and may increase treatment effect sizes in depression treatment trials.

Aims: We aim to determine whether using confirmatory factor analysis techniques can provide better estimates of the true effects of treatments, by conducting secondary analyses of individual patient data from randomised trials of antidepressant therapies.

Method: We will access individual patient data from antidepressant treatment trials through and, specifically targeting studies that used the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD) as the outcome measure. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analytic approaches will be used to determine pre-treatment (baseline) and post-treatment models of depression, in terms of the number of factors and weighted scores of each item. Differences in the derived factor scores between baseline and outcome measurements will yield an effect size for factor-informed depression change. The difference between the factor-informed effect size and each original trial effect size, calculated with total HRSD-17 scores, will be determined, and the differences modelled with meta-analytic approaches. Risk differences for proportions of patients who achieved remission will also be evaluated. Furthermore, measurement invariance methods will be used to assess potential gender differences.

Conclusions: Our approach will determine whether adopting advanced psychometric analyses can improve precision and better estimate effect sizes in antidepressant treatment trials. The proposed methods could have implications for future trials and other types of studies that use patient-reported outcome measures.


Irish Research Council Collaborative Alliances for Societal Challenges (COALESCE) grant entitled ‘Do psychometrics matter? The effects of advanced psychometric analyses on depression randomised trial outcomes’ (grant number COALESCE/2021/68)



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Published Citation

Doyle F, et al. The effects of advanced factor analysis approaches on outcomes in randomised trials for depression: protocol for secondary analysis of individual participant data. BJPsych Open. 2023;9(5):e157

Publication Date

11 August 2023

PubMed ID



  • School of Population Health
  • General Practice
  • Data Science Centre
  • Health Psychology


Cambridge University Press


  • Published Version (Version of Record)

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