Clinical and Statistical Significance

In psychology and medicine, and in respect to evidence-based projects, clinical significance is defined as the practical value of the intended treatment outcome or effect. The effects can either be palpable, real and or noticeable effects on the daily life of the patient. If the intended treatment has noticeable positive effects and improves the health of the patients significantly is termed as clinically important or clinically significance. Clinical significance is important in that it helps the medical practitioners in finding out if the treatment is effective in positively changing the health of the patient and or if the treatment is effective in fully treating the patient and bringing the patients’ health back to normal.

Statistical significance (used in hypothesis testing) depends and uses on P-value and levels of confidence intervals to measure the apparent difference in the control and treatment outcome to confirm that the difference is real and did not occur by chance whereas clinical significance, measures the actual difference in actual outcome and treatment effects(Leung, 2001). It is of importance to note that evidence-based results can be, clinically and Statistically significant, clinically important but not statistically significant, and not clinically important but Statistically significant.

Evidence-based project significantly affects the decision-making processes in health organization and therefore, with valid EBP results we will improve the patient’s outcome. Clinical significance will help in identification of important and relevant changes in clinical practice outcome. Clinical significance will help improve on the EBP results by identifying the minimal clinically important differences, clinically meaningful differences and minimal important changes(Page, 2014). It does not necessarily mean that noticeable improvement in statistically significant data is clinically significant.


LEUNG, W.-C. 2001. Balancing statistical and clinical significance in evaluating treatment effects. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 77, 201-204.

PAGE, P. 2014. Beyond statistical significance: clinical interpretation of rehabilitation research literature. International journal of sports physical therapy, 9, 726-736.

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