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May 2022

Credibility assessment in trials of acupuncture

Journal/Book: Complementary Medical Research. 1990; 4: 8-11.

Abstract: The measurement of credibility is an important means of evaluating the adequacy of a placebo in controlled trials. lf acupuncture, or any other treatment, is perceived by patients as more credible than a control procedure, then any advantage the treatment shows over the control may simply be due to its having a greater psychological effect. However, the reliability of the credibility scale has never been assessed and it has not been validated with patients receiving acupuncture treatment. In this study the scale was given on two occasions to 50 patients receiving a course of acupuncture. Test-retest reliability was high and the scale was found to be internally consistent. The use of the scale in a controlled trial of acupuncture treatment is also reported. Acupuncture was found to be equally credible to the minimal sham acupuncture control condition. It is recommended that the credibility scale be routinely used in controlled trials of acupuncture and other physical therapies.


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