With Small Power, Comes Great Responsibility

Lessons Learned from an Evaluation of Veteran and Military Mental Health Public Awareness Campaigns

Published in: Community Mental Health Journal, pages 1-4 (2019). doi: 10.1007/s10597-019-00419-3

Posted on RAND.org on October 15, 2019

by Joie D. Acosta, J. Scott Ashwood, Terry L. Schell, Jennifer L. Cerully

Read More

Access further information on this document at Community Mental Health Journal

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

This study was conducted to determine the feasibility of conducting a cost-benefit evaluation of federally-funded media campaigns encouraging mental health help-seeking among United States military personnel and veterans. To calculate the necessary sample size for the evaluation, we obtained campaign costs, and determined the number of treatment seekers needed for the campaign to break even with its cost and the associated population change that an evaluation would need to detect. The sample size needed for an evaluation with 80% power was greater than the total population of U.S. military personnel and veterans. Given that the necessary sample size exceeds the population to be sampled, an appropriately powered outcome evaluation is not feasible. Other programs that would be cost effective with extremely small effect sizes should not be subject to underpowered and thus inaccurate empirical outcome evaluation.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.