Declaration of interest
There is an established disparity between physical and mental healthcare. Parity of research outputs has not been assessed internationally across influential medical journals.
To assess parity of publication between physical and mental health, and within psychiatry.
Four major medical disciplines were identified and their relative burden estimated. All publications from the highest-impact general medical journals in 2001, 2006 and 2011 were categorised accordingly. The frequency of psychiatry, cardiology, oncology and respiratory medicine articles were compared with the expected proportion (given illness burdens). Six subspecialties within psychiatry were also compared.
Psychiatry was consistently and substantially underrepresented; other specialties were overrepresented. Dementia and psychosis demonstrated overrepresentation, with addiction and anxiety disorders represented proportionately and other disorders underrepresented. The underrepresentation of mood disorders increased more recently.
There appears to be an important element of disparity of esteem; further action is required to achieve equivalence between mental and physical health research publications.
- © The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2016.
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