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Mind the prevalence rate: overestimating the clinical utility of psychiatric diagnostic classifiers

  • Ahmad Abu-Akel (a1), Chad Bousman (a2) (a3), Efstratios Skafidas (a2) (a4) and Christos Pantelis (a2) (a4)

Abstract

Currently, there is an intense pursuit of pathognomonic markers and diagnostic (‘risk-based’) classifiers of psychiatric conditions. Commonly, the epidemiological prevalence of the condition is not factored into the development of these classifiers. By not adjusting for prevalence, classifiers overestimate the potential of their clinical utility. As valid predictive values have critical implications in public health and allocation of resources, development of clinical classifiers should account for the prevalence of psychiatric conditions in both general and high-risk populations. We suggest that classifiers are most likely to be useful when targeting enriched populations.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Christos Pantelis, E-mail: cpant@unimelb.edu.au

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