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Just Another Week In Real-World Science: De Venter Et Al. (2017)

Thursday 25 October 2018


From Nick Brown's blog:



Just another week in real-world science: de Venter et al. (2017)

By Nick Brown
18 October 2018

Someone sent me a link to this article and asked what I thought of it.

De Venter, M., Illegems, J., Van Royen, R., Moorkens, G., Sabbe, B. G. C., & Van Den Eede, F. (2017). Differential effects of childhood trauma subtypes on fatigue and physical functioning in chronic fatigue syndrome. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 78, 76–82.

The article describes an investigation into possible relations between various negative childhood events (as measured by the Traumatic Experiences Checklist [TEC]) and impaired functioning (fatigue, as measured by the Checklist Individual Strength [CIS] scale, and general health and well-being, as measured by the well-known SF-36 scale). The authors' conclusions, from the abstract, were fairly unequivocal: "... sexual harassment emerged as the most important predictor of fatigue and poor physical functioning in the CFS patients assessed. These findings have to be taken into account [emphasis added] in further clinical research and in the assessment and treatment of individuals coping with chronic fatigue syndrome." In other words, as of the publication of this article, the authors believe that the assessment of past sexual harassment should be an integral part of people with the condition widely known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (I will use that term for simplicity, although I appreciate that some people prefer alternatives.)

The main results are in Table 3, which I have reproduced here (I hope that Elsevier's legal department will agree that this counts as fair use):


The article is quite short, with the Results section focusing on the two standardized (*) partial regression coefficients (henceforth, "betas") that I've highlighted in red here, which have associated p values below .05, and the Discussion section focusing on the implications of these.

There are a couple of problems here.


Full article…



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