A realist approach to the evaluation of complex mental health interventions

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


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

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Portsmouth
  • Sheffield University
  • University of Southampton
  • Warwick University
  • Mental Health Foundation
  • Queen Mary University of London


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