Prediction of outcome from the Dartmouth assertive community treatment fidelity scale

CNS Spectr. 2004 Dec;9(12):937-42. doi: 10.1017/s1092852900009792.


Background: Assertive community treatment (ACT) is an intensive and comprehensive treatment for clients with severe mental illness (SMI) who do not readily benefit from clinic-based services. Monitoring the implementation of such programs is critical, because better-implemented programs have been found to be effective in improving client outcomes.

Objective: We tested the hypothesis that fidelity to the ACT model would be positively correlated with improved client outcomes, as measured by reduction in psychiatric hospital use.

Methods: A scale measuring fidelity of program implementation, the Dartmouth ACT Scale, was examined in 10 newly formed ACT teams. Using the team as the unit of measure, the mean reduction in state hospital days for a 1-year period before and after program admission was calculated. Mean effect size in reduction in hospital days was used as the outcome measure in a correlational design.

Results: Pre/post comparisons showed a 43 percent reduction in hospital days for 317 clients (t=8.61, P<.001). The Pearson correlation between DACTS fidelity and reduction of state hospital days was .49, P=.08, one-tailed.

Conclusion: Several possible reasons are offered for why the study hypothesis was not confirmed. However, even if predictive validity of the Dartmouth ACT Scale is limited, it continues to be a useful tool for program monitoring and for providing corrective feedback.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Assertiveness*
  • Community Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Illinois
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Program Evaluation
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*