Cognitive Strategies for Improving Outcome Measurement

Investigator: Martha Shumway, PhD
Sponsor: NIH National Institute of Mental Health

Location(s): United States


Development and dissemination of evidence-based mental health treatments depend on valid and reliable assessment of treatment outcomes in the full range of practice settings and patient populations. However, many instruments developed for clinical efficacy research are not feasible for effectiveness research and outcomes management. Simply, measures that are confusing or overwhelming cannot measure outcomes accurately. Research applying theories and methods of cognitive science in attitude and opinion measurement has produced models of the measurement process, empirical evidence of cognitive difficulties that limit measurement quality and methods for detecting and minimizing these difficulties. These methods hold great promise for improving mental health outcome measures. The research plan addresses four specific aims:

(1) Develop hypotheses about cognitive difficulties and response effects in mental health outcome measures,

(2) Examine hypothesized response effects through analyses of existing outcome data,

(3) Test and compare cognitive evaluation and interview methods for identifying and understanding cognitive processes that lead to measurement problems,

(4) Pilot methods for developing and testing improved measures designed to correct cognitive difficulties and response effects.