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Letters
December 9, 1998

An Even Closer Look at Therapeutic Touch

Author Affiliations
 

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1998;280(22):1905-1908. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-280-22-jac80017

To the Editor.—Research design flaws in the study by Ms Rosa and colleagues1 are disturbing given the serious nature of study results and the suggestion that TT should no longer be offered to patients. First, the authors are not neutral and unbiased, nor is the senior author representative of nurse scientists with advanced degrees currently conducting research. Second, it is questionable whether the sampling methods provided a representative sample. "Searching advertisements" to obtain a sample is purposive and limits generalizability. In addition, the authors did not specify what is meant by "following other leads" in recruiting participants. Apparent failure of the participants to question explication of test procedures from a 9-year-old child suggests lack of sophistication. Third, no rationale is provided for conducting 2 series of tests, and the criteria that guided this design are not mentioned. Moreover, during the first testing period, there was a lack of equivalency in both the time frames used to assess practitioners and the settings in which data were collected. The impact of videotaping during the second testing period, a complaint registered by several participants, is not addressed. Fourth, the subtle demand characteristic of the procedure for testing the hypothesis that practitioners should be able to perceive the HEF of the experimenter 100% of the time was not representative of the patient-practitioner interaction and glosses over the fact that practitioners generally use both hands to assess the HEF.

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