Positive thinking about negative studies


Eva Petkova, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, New York University, New York, USA.
Adam Ciarleglio, George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, DC, USA.
Patricia Casey, Hermitage Medical Clinic, Dublin, Ireland; and Department of Psychiatry, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.
Norman Poole, Department of Neuropsychiatry, South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust, London, UK.
Kenneth Kaufman, Department of Psychiatry, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA; and Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, London, UK.
Stephen M. Lawrie, Department of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
Gin Malhi, Academic Department of Psychiatry, Kolling Institute, Northern Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; CADE Clinic and Mood-T, Royal North Shore Hospital, Northern Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; and Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
Najma Siddiqi, Department of Health Sciences, Hull York Medical School, University of York, York, UK.
Kamaldeep Bhui, Department of Psychiatry, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Science, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; Wadham College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; East London and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trusts, London, UK; and WPA Collaborating Centre Oxford, Oxford, UK.
William Lee, Department of Liaison Psychiatry, Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust, Bodmin, UK.

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science








Adjustment disorders; aetiology; alcohol disorders; anorexia nervosa; anthropology


The non-reporting of negative studies results in a scientific record that is incomplete, one-sided and misleading. The consequences of this range from inappropriate initiation of further studies that might put participants at unnecessary risk to treatment guidelines that may be in error, thus compromising day-to-day clinical practice.


Biostatistics and Bioinformatics