School of Psychological Science

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Fiona Ronk

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How do we best classify treatment outcomes in mental health?


A question of interest to mental health clinicians is "how successful was the treatment delivered to a particular patient?" The optimal outcome for a patient who has finished treatment is 'recovery', or the absence of symptoms. Other outcomes include 'improved', where the patient has improved somewhat, but some symptoms still remain; 'no change', where the patient has not experienced any change during the course of treatment; and 'deteriorated', where the patient has worsened over the course of treatment.

Various methods of classifying patients into these categories exist; my research aims to determine which of these methods is the most valid. That is, which categorization method classifies patient treatment outcomes most accurately?

Why my research is important

When treatment outcomes are monitored and classified accurately, this can signal to clinicians when a patient is ready to cease treatment. If a patient remains in treatment longer than required, clinician time is expended unnecessarily. But, if treatment is ceased prematurely, this can be detrimental to the patient.

Accurate classification of outcomes is also vital in comparing the effectiveness of different treatments during research. Additionally, clinicians can use treatment outcome classifications to reflect on their own performance.


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Last updated:
Friday, 23 January, 2015 3:27 PM