Background: Systematic reviews (SRs) and meta-analyses are essential resources for the clinicians. They allow to evaluate the strengths and the weaknesses of the evidence to support clinical decision-making if they are adequately reported. Little is known in the rehabilitation field about the completeness of reporting of SRs and its relationship with the risk of bias (ROB). Objectives: Primary: 1) To evaluate the completeness of reporting of systematic reviews (SRs) published in rehabilitation journals by evaluating their adherence to the PRISMA 2009 checklist, 2) To investigate the relationship between ROB and completeness of reporting. Secondary: To study the association between completeness of reporting and journals and study characteristics. Methods: A random sample of 200 SRs published between 2011 and 2020 in 68 rehabilitation journals was indexed under the “rehabilitation” category in the InCites database. Two independent reviewers evaluated adherence to the PRISMA checklist and assessed ROB using the ROBIS tool. Overall adherence and adherence to each PRISMA item and section were calculated. Regression analyses investigated the association between completeness of reporting, ROB, and other characteristics (impact factor, publication options, publication year, and study protocol registration). Results: The mean overall PRISMA adherence across the 200 studies considered was 61.4%. Regression analyses show that having a high overall ROB is a significant predictor of lower adherence (B=-7.1%; 95%CI -12.1, -2.0). Studies published in fourth quartile journals displayed a lower overall adherence (B= -7.2%; 95%CI -13.2, -1.3) than those published in first quartile journals; the overall adherence increased (B= 11.9%; 95%CI 5.9, 18.0) if the SR protocol was registered. No association between adherence, publication options, and publication year was found. Conclusion: Reporting completeness in rehabilitation SRs is suboptimal and is associated with ROB, impact factor, and study registration. Authors of SRs should improve adherence to the PRISMA guideline, and journal editors should implement strategies to optimize the completeness of reporting.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
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