Essential considerations in developing attention control groups in behavioral research.

08:00 EDT 1st June 2018 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Essential considerations in developing attention control groups in behavioral research."

Attention control groups strengthen randomized controlled trials of behavioral interventions, but researchers need to give careful consideration to the attention control activities. A comparative effectiveness research framework provides an ideal opportunity for an attention control group as a supplement to standard care, so participants potentially receive benefit regardless of group assignment. The anticipated benefit of the control condition must be independent of the study outcome. Resources needed for attention control activities need to be carefully considered and ethical considerations carefully weighed. In this paper we address nine considerations for the design and implementation of attention control groups: (1) ensure attention control activities are not associated with the outcome; (2) avoid contamination of the intervention or control group; (3) design comparable control and intervention activities; (4) ensure researcher training to adequately administer both treatment arms; (5) design control activities to be interesting and acceptable to participants; (6) evaluate attention control activities; (7) consider additional resources needed to implement attention control activities; (8) quantifying the effects of attention control and intervention groups; and (9) ethical considerations with attention control groups. Examples from the literature and ongoing research are presented. Careful planning for the attention control group is as important as for the intervention group. Researchers can use the considerations presented here to assist in planning for the best attention control group for their study.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Research in nursing & health
ISSN: 1098-240X
Pages: 320-328


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