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Random Walk Hypothesis

We often talk of a "trajectory of change" as if there is such a thing as "momentum" in patient progress. Patients who have shown improvement are expected to continue to improve; patients who have not improved are presumed to continue to show "inertia" unless something changes in the treatment.

All available evidence, however, appears to point to a less predictable pattern of change than we intuitively expect. This is sometimes called the random walk hypothesis. For more on this subject, see the following report and discussion on an analysis I performed using OQ-30 data to test the random walk hypothesis.

Is mental health treatment a random walk?

For more than you probably want to know, see Random walk; wikipedia.

-- JebBrown - 27 Feb 2007

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