We have recently partnered with Prof Mike Smith at Youth in Mind in order to develop online assessment tools which can deliver some of the benefits of interview approaches, taking less time and resource.
Along with Prof Robert Goodman at Kings College London, child and adolescent diagnostic tools such as the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and clinical interview (Difficulties and Well-Being Assessment – DAWBA) were successfully developed to ascertain national rates of psychiatric disorder. These were further utilised for vulnerable children in care, and are now being rolled out to schools in the context of new policies on mental health workers in schools.
The online system provided a much more detailed and time-based approach to assessment, was easy to roll out in schools and similar locations and could provide an instant summary report as well as collecting anonymised group data. The online systems are robust and secure.
We worked with Mike Smith on our CLEAR – Computerised Life Events Assessment Records project. The project, which was ESRC funded, developed a complex online tool for assessing life event stress. This worked almost as well as the interview approach and much better than simple checklist questionnaires. We are currently collaborating to develop our Q pack, which utilises SDQ, for children in care and to extend our use of the CLEAR life events assessment.