Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Clinical Significance

  • Monica KuryloEmail author
  • Kimberly Fleming
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_2022

Clinical significance is a perceived, valued, and functionally relevant discrepancy in symptoms/abilities that reflects an important change in functioning. This can involve either an improvement (usually as a result of treatment or intervention) or a decline (typically due progression of illness or disorder) as measured by symptoms or impairment level.

Clinical significance also refers to a static condition of import – for example, a functionally relevant discrepancy between cognitive abilities in different domains (e.g., language vs. visual-perceptual abilities).

While clinical significance may be supported by statistically significant differences on quantitative measures of functioning, statistical significance cannot be equated with clinical significance.

Cross-References

References and Readings

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington: American Psychiatric Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bowden, S. C., Harrison, E. J., & Loring, D. W. (2014). Evaluating research for clinical significance: Using critically appraised topics to enhance evidence-based neuropsychology. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 28, 653–668.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Jacobson, N. S., & Truax, P. (1991). Clinical significance: A statistical approach to defining meaningful change in psychotherapy research. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 59, 12–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Jacobson, N. S., Roberts, L. J., Berns, S. B., & McGlinchey, J. B. (1999). Methods for defining and determining the clinical significance of treatment effects: Description, application, and alternatives. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67, 300–307.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kazdin, A. E. (1999). The meanings and measurement of clinical significance. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67, 332–339.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. Kazdin, A. E. (2003). Clinical significance: Measuring whether interventions make a difference. In A. E. Kazdin (Ed.), Methodological issues and strategies in clinical research (3rd ed., pp. 691–710). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  7. Spitzer, R. L., & Wakefield, J. C. (1999). DSM-IV diagnostic criterion for clinical significance: Does it help solve the false positives problem? American Journal of Psychiatry, 156, 1856–1864.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Psychiatry and Rehabilitation MedicineUniversity of Kansas Medical CenterKansas CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesThe University of Kansas KU Medical CenterKansas CityUSA