Research Priorities in Mental Health, Part 2: An Evaluation of the Current Research Effort Against Stakeholders' Priorities

Griffiths et al. (2002) full text summary PDF

For which topic were research priorities identified?

mental health

In which location was the research priority setting conducted?

Australia - Australia

Why was it conducted at all?

In a companion paper, we have compared the amount of research on various mental disorders in Australia with the disease burden and health system costs of these disorders. A limitation of this approach is that it is disease focused; although it is possible to use burden and cost data to rank diseases for research priority, such data are not so easily applied to other dimensions of research (e.g. the setting, methodology or research topic). Another approach to setting priorities involves consulting experts or other stakeholders.

What was the objective?

to examine the current distribution of mental health research in Australia and compare this with the priorities of various stakeholder groups

What was the outcome?

a ranking list of 11 research topics

How long did the research prioritization take?

No information provided.

Which methods were used to identify research priorities?


How were the priorities for research identified exactly?

Step 1: review of literature: to collect research priorities. Step 2: survey: participants were asked to rate priorities for various mental disorders, settings in which research can be carried out, topics of research and subgroups of the population, survey also asking: When rating research priorities for mental disorders, people take various factors into account, such as how much the disorder costs, how much suffering it causes, etc. Please rate the following factors for importance to you in setting priorities for research in Australia., and asking: A lot of mental health research is carried out in Australia. How do you find out about what research is being done? Please rate the importance to you of the following sources of information about mental health research in Australia

Which stakeholders took part?

Researchers, committees that evaluate research, clinical service providers (general practitioners, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and mental health nurses), members of the national mental health working group, consumers of mental health services and carers. Participants: researchers (n=100), NHMRC (n=10), ARHRF committee (n=8), NMHWG (n=6), general practitioners (n=58), psychiatrists (n=105), clinical psychologists (n=106), mental health nurses (n=120), consumers/ carers (n=59), and other consumers/ carers (n=114).

How were stakeholders recruited?

Researchers were sampled from the list of senior authors of all the mental health research articles published in 1998. Committees that evaluate research grants were the members of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Mental Health Grant Review Panel and the Research Committee of the Australian Rotary Health Research Fund for 2000. National Mental Health Working Group consisted of senior Commonwealth, state and territory mental health administrators. General practitioners and psychiatrists were sampled from the list of medical practitioners held by the Health Insurance Commission. Clinical psychologists were sampled from the membership of the College of Clinical Psychologists of the Australian Psychological Society. Mental health nurses were sampled from the membership of the Australian and New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses. Consumers and carers: the project team contacted consumer and carer members of the board of the Mental Health Council of Australia (MHCA) and members of consumer and carer advisory groups (CAGs) set up by state and territory governments. A snowball technique was used to expand the sample. Each of the seven MHCA consumer and carer representatives was asked to provide details of consumers or carer advocates whom they believed would be suitable participants for the study. Questionnaires were sent to a random sample of 200 persons from each of the lists of researchers, general practitioners, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and mental health nurses. Questionnaires were also sent to all 11 members of the NHMRC Mental Health Grant Review Panel, all 10 members of the research committee of the Australian Rotary Health Research Fund (ARHRF) and all nine members of the National Mental Health Working Group (NMHWG). For consumers and carer advocates, questionnaires were sent to 83 people associated with consumer/carer advisory groups and 179 others identified through snowball sampling procedure.

Were stakeholders actively involved or did they just participate?

Stakeholders were mere participants of the research prioritization process; they were not actively involved in the process.