Researchers in the USA have studied, for the first time, the types, prevalence and effects of conflicts of interest (COI) in autism early intervention research. Kristen Bottema-Beutel and colleagues performed a secondary analysis of a meta-analysis of all group-design, non-pharmacological early intervention autism research conducted over a period of nearly 50 years.
They analyzed 150 reports for the presence of a COI statement and for eight types of COI. They found that while 70% of reports seemed to have at least one COI, only 6% of reports provided a full COI statement that fully accounted for all potential conflicts.
These findings suggest that although COIs are prevalent in autism early intervention research, they are heavily under-reported. However, the researchers found no significant effect of COIs on inflating effect sizes. Going forward, researchers should be aware of and accurately report all COIs that might influence research findings.
Bottema-Beutel, K., Crowley, S., Sandbank, M. & Woynaroski, T.G. (2020), Research Review: Conﬂicts of Interest (COIs) in autism early intervention research – a meta-analysis of COI inﬂuences on intervention effects. J. Child Psychol. Psychiatr. doi: 10.111/jcpp.13249.