A guide to interpretation of studies investigating subgroups of responders to physical therapy interventions

Mark Hancock*, Robert D. Herbert, Christopher G. Maher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many researchers and clinicians believe the effectiveness of existing physical therapy interventions can be improved by targeting the provision of specific interventions at patients who respond best to that treatment. Although this approach has the potential to improve outcomes for some patients, it needs to be implemented carefully because some methods used to identify subgroups can produce biased or misleading results. The aim of this article is to assist readers in assessing the validity and generalizability of studies designed to identify subgroups of responders to physical therapy interventions. The key messages are that subgroups should be identified using high-quality randomized controlled trials, the investigation should be limited to a relatively small number of potential subgroups for which there is a plausible rationale, subgroup effects should be investigated by formally analyzing statistical interactions, and findings of subgroups should be subject to external validation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)698-704
Number of pages7
JournalPhysical Therapy
Volume89
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes

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