Selecting outcome measures in mental health: the views of service users

J Ment Health. 2011 Aug;20(4):336-46. doi: 10.3109/09638237.2011.577114.


Background: Little is known about service users' views of measures used to evaluate treatments in mental health.

Aims: To identify the views of people with psychosis and affective disorder about the relevance and acceptability of commonly used outcome measures.

Methods: Twenty-four widely used outcome measures were presented to expert groups of service users. Nominal group methods were used to develop consensus about the appropriateness of each measure. Comments made by service users about how outcomes should be assessed were also recorded.

Results: Group members expressed concern about the ability of some outcome measures to capture their experiences. Patient-rated measures were assessed as more relevant and appropriate than staff-rated measures, and the need to examine negative as well as the positive effects of treatments was emphasised. Specific concerns were raised about some widely used measures including the Global Assessment of Functioning and the European Quality of Life scale.

Conclusions: We consider it essential that service users' views are taken into account when selecting measures to evaluate treatment outcomes. Providing insight into views of users of mental health services, our findings serve as a starting point for discussion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • London
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychotic Disorders / rehabilitation*