A thematic analysis assessing clinical decision-making in antipsychotic prescribing for schizophrenia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Electronic versions



  • Rossela Roberts
  • Abigail Neasham
    Cardiff University
  • Chania Lambrinudi
    Cardiff University
  • Afshan Khan
    Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board NHS Wales

In recent decades atypical antipsychotics have increased treatment options available for schizophrenia, however there is conflicting evidence concerning the trade-off between clinical efficacy and side effects for the different classes of antipsychotics. There has been a consistent increase in atypical antipsychotic prescribing compared to typical, despite evidence showing that neither class is superior. This leads to the question of whether prescribers are selective in their uptake of research evidence and clinical guidelines and if so, what influences their choice.. This study aims to identify the factors that contribute to the prescribing choice and how these can be used to aid knowledge translation and guideline implementation.

A thematic analysis study was conducted using data from 11 semi-structured interviews with clinicians with experience in prescribing for schizophrenia.

The analysis identified five themes underpinning prescribing behaviour: (1) ownership and collaboration; (2) compromise; (3) patient involvement; (4) integrating research evidence; and (5) experience.

The themes mapped to various degrees onto current models of evidence-based decision making and suggest that there is scope to re-think the guideline implementation frameworks to incorporate recurring themes salient to clinicians who ultimately use the guidelines. This will further translation of future evidence into clinical practice, accelerating clinical progress.


  • Antipsychotics Schizophrenia Guidelines Qualitative Evidence based medicine
Original languageEnglish
Article number290
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2018

Total downloads

No data available
View graph of relations