Dr Abby Dunn


Research interests


Abby Dunn, James Alvarez, Amy Arbon, Stephen Bremner, Chloe Elsby-Pearson, Richard Emsley, Christopher Jones, Peter Lawrence, Kathryn J. Lester, Natalie Morson, Nicky Perry, Julia Simner, Abigail Thomson, Sam Cartwright-Hatton (2024)Investigating the effect of providing monetary incentives to participants on completion rates of referred co-respondents: An embedded randomized controlled trial, In: Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications38101267 Elsevier

Background The use of a second informant (co-respondent) is a common method of identifying potential bias in outcome data (e.g., parent-report child outcomes). There is, however, limited evidence regarding methods of increasing response rates from co-respondents. The use of financial incentives is associated with higher levels of engagement and follow-up data collection in online surveys. This study investigated whether financial incentives paid to index participants in an online trial of a parenting-focused intervention, would lead to higher levels of co-respondent data collection. Methods A study within a trial (SWAT) using a parallel group RCT design. Participants in the host study (an RCT of an online intervention) were randomised into one of two SWAT arms: received/did not receive a £15 voucher when referred co-respondent completed baseline measures. Primary outcome was completion (No/Yes) of Spence Children's Anxiety Scale (SCAS or SCAS-Pre) at baseline. Additional analysis explored impact of incentives on data quality. Results Intention to treat analysis of 899 parents (183 co-respondents) in the no-incentive arm, and 911 parents (199 co-respondents) in incentive arm. Nomination of co-respondents was similar between incentive arms. The RR for the incentive arm compared to the no incentive arm was 1.13 (95% CI: 0.91 to 1.41, p = 0.264) indicating that incentives did not impact completion of outcomes by consented co-respondents. There were no indications of different data quality between arms. Discussion The finding that payment of financial incentives to index participant does not lead to greater levels of co-respondent outcome completion suggests that careful consideration should be made before allocating resources in this way in future trials.

Sam Cartwright-Hatton, Abby Dunn (2024)We need more real-world trials like this one, In: The Lancet Psychiatry112(3)pp. 161-162 Elsevier

We desperately need more trials like the study by Cathy Creswell and colleagues: 1 a real-world effectiveness study, which showed the clear value of a digitally augmented intervention over the usual face-to-face treatment. Children who were referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for treatment of anxiety did just as well when treated with therapist-supported, parent-led, online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as those receiving the usual treatment offered by that setting, but they did so with just under 60% of the usual clinician time. The potential benefits to over-burdened services are clear.