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Guidelines for promoting good clinical practice are often developed using formal consensus methods. These methods seek to identify whether there is consensus or whether individual views diverge to such an extent that recommendations cannot be made. This article examines how differences in the design of the consensus method and various clinical and social cues affect the extent of disagreement within 16 groups rating the appropriateness of mental health interventions for various conditions. The provision of a literature review, differences in group composition, and assumptions about resources did not significantly affect the extent of disagreement. The extent of disagreement did vary with the interventions and conditions being considered, and some patient characteristics. These findings are encouraging because the extent of disagreement appears to be sensitive to the scenarios considered but robust to variations in the design of the consensus process.
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The purpose of this study was to develop and …

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