Patient-reported outcomes in child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS): use of idiographic and standardized measures

J Ment Health. 2012 Apr;21(2):165-73. doi: 10.3109/09638237.2012.664304.


Background: There is increasing emphasis on use of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) in mental health but little research on the best approach, especially where there are multiple perspectives.

Aims: To present emerging findings from both standardized and idiographic child-, parent- and clinician-rated outcomes in child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and consider their correlations.

Method: Outcomes were collected in CAMHS across the UK. These comprised idiographic measures (goal-based outcomes) and standardized measures (practitioner-rated Children's Global Assessment Scale; child- and parent-rated Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire).

Results: There was reliable positive change from the beginning of treatment to later follow-up according to all informants. Standardized clinician function report was correlated with standardized child difficulty report (r = - 0.26), standardized parent report (r = - 0.28) and idiographic joint client-determined goals (r = 0.38) in the expected directions.

Conclusions: These results suggest that routine outcome monitoring is feasible, and suggest the possibility of using jointly agreed idiographic measures alongside particular perspectives on outcome as part of a PROMs approach.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Community Mental Health Services*
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Data Collection / standards
  • England
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Parents
  • Reference Standards
  • Scotland
  • Surveys and Questionnaires