A realist approach to the evaluation of complex mental health interventions

Craig Duncan, Scott Weich, Sarah-Jane Fenton, Liz Twigg, Graham Moon, Jason Madan, Swaran Singh, David Crepaz-Keay, Helen Parsons, Kamaldeep Bhui

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
379 Downloads (Pure)


Conventional approaches to evidence in which RCTs are prioritised appear increasingly inadequate for the evaluation of complex mental health interventions. By focusing on causal mechanisms and understanding the complex interactions between interventions, patients and contexts, realist approaches offer alternative ways of generating transferrable knowledge. While it has been suggested that the two approaches might be combined in realist RCTs, substantial barriers remain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-453
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number2
Early online date20 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • randomised controlled trial
  • complex interventions
  • realist evaluation


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