questionnaires and self tests

RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY

Questionnaires that you complete yourself (rather than ones that a therapist/ clinician would complete) are also called self-report measures. It takes time to develop a measure to ensure that it shows two main things: reliability and validity. Reliability is when the measure is shown to be assessing the same aspect or behaviour at different points in time – in other words, how consistent it is. Validity is ensured when it has been found to measure that particular aspect or behaviour, and not something else. Validity is further refined by assessing whether it appears to measure what it is meant to (face validity), is measuring that particular feature and nothing else (construct validity) and shows that it can predict the feature being measured (predic- tive). These areas are all important in giving you a final score that you can feel is actually measuring what it is meant to measure. There are lots of fun questionnaires available on the internet, but they may not be able to claim they have this validity and reliability, so you cannot always be sure the score is a true reflection of what the questionnaire is meant to be assessing. For example, a question on a measure about depression could ask, ‘Are you irritable and anxious a lot?’ This question might seem to be measur- ing a feeling when can have when we feel low or grumpy (face validity). However, feeling irritable and anxious are aspects of generalized anxiety and also some hyper-arousal states following traumatic experiences, so it wouldn’t be a question that would show construct validity for a question- naire that only wanted to assess depression. There would need to be more work to include something like that; perhaps a part of the measure would have space for more agitated aspects of depression. But I hope you can see that when you take a test or measure, the score that you receive at the end has to be meaningful. You have to have confidence that the test is measuring what it should be.

The next time you take one of those fun tests on social media, ask yourself: is this question measuring what it thinks it is measuring, or could there be another reason for this aspect or behaviour?

With all of this in mind I have tried to include links to measures that have been researched and show reliability and validity. The way that you can tell this for yourself is by checking the questionnaire or site for information about where the measure came from and/or who developed the measure. The page on the patient.info site that offers the PHQ9 is an excellent example here. Have a look here at the credits at the end of the questionnaire: patient.info/doctor/patient-health-questionnaire-phq-9.

CAN A QUESTIONNAIRE GIVE ME A DIAGNOSIS?

It is important to note that questionnaires such as the Anxiety and Depression test on the NHS website cannot give you a diagnosis or tell you why you are feeling the way that you do. However, if you do find that you are scoring in the moderate to severe range and this either continues for more than two weeks or is a repeating pattern for you, it would be important to contact your doctor and/or arrange an appointment with a therapist to talk through what is happening for you. Two people can both score in the severe range on the PHQ9 and the GAD7 for example, but one person may be struggling with the effects of trauma whilst another may be struggling with OCD. Both can be reasons for high scores on anxiety and significant difficulties with low mood.

LIST OF SELF-REPORT MEASURES

ACES (ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES) AND RESILIENCE SCORE

acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score

www.threerivers.gov.uk/egcl-page/adverse-childhood-experiences-aces

ANXIETY –NHS IAPT SELF-REPORT MEASURES

Generalised-anxiety-disorder-assessment

AUTISM AND ADHD/ADD

The ADDitude website has several self-tests for ASD, ADD and ADHD as well as other tests that may be relevant. It is a great site for information and support from a friendly and informal perspective.

Note: The self-tests on this site are for screening and information rather than to confirm a diagnosis.

www.additudemag.com/download/autism-in-adults/?src=test

Note: The self-tests on this site are for screening and information rather than to confirm a diagnosis.

COMPASSION AND CRITICISM

goodmedicine.org.uk/goodknowledge/compassion-criticism

or Kristin Neff’s site here

Kristin Neff’s site

DEPRESSION

NHS IAPT self-report measures


patient.info/doctor/patient-health-questionnaire-phq-9

EMOTIONS

Emotional intelligence test

Several different emotional intelligence tests

Emotion beliefs questionnaire

Questionnaire_EBQ_Copy_of_questionnaire_and_scoring_instructions

FINDING THE RIGHT THERAPIST FOR YOU

Esther Perel

GENERAL SELF-ASSESSMENT TESTS FOR ANXIETY, MOOD, SLEEP

Good Thinking, a digital mental health initiative for London, supported by the NHS

www.good-thinking.uk/self-assessments

HEALTH ANXIETY

Dr James Hawkins’ site has a comprehensive list of this and many other tests. Take a look here.

goodmedicine.org.uk/stressedtozest/2008/12/ handouts-questionnaires-health-anxiety-disorder

HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON SCALE (HSP)

Also called Sensory Processing Sensitivity, the HSP scale has been devel- oped by Elaine Aron, who has worked hard to ensure this construct is researched and shows validity and reliability. On Aron’s website there is a test for HSP in adults, as well as one for children, and a high-sensation- seeking test.

Highly sensitive person test

MIND PLAN QUIZ – YOUR MIND MATTERS

NEURODIVERSITY APP AND PROFILER

The app on this website gives you a ‘spiky profile’ result for neurodivergent aspects such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, ADD and ASD.

OCD – OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER

I am linking to Dr James Hawkins’s page again here, as he has added the OCI (Obsessive Compulsive Inventory) in MS Word form with the sub-scales tagged to help you. He also includes the shortened form of this measure. The OCD scales are underneath the Panic info on this page. goodmedicine.org.uk/goodknowledge/

panic-ocd-depersonalization-information-assessment

PANIC

goodmedicine.org.uk/goodknowledge/panic-ocd-depersonalization- information-assessment

PERSONALITY

The Big Five – bigfive-test.com openpsychometrics.org/tests/IPIP-BFFM/

POSTNATAL DEPRESSION

patient.info/news-and-features/quiz-do-i-have-postnatal-depression

SOCIAL ANXIETY

psychology-tools.com/test/spin goodmedicine.org.uk/goodknowledge/social-anxiety-information- assessment

TRAUMA AND PTSD

There’s some detailed info on Dr James Hawkins’s page that will signpost you to some really helpful information about trauma goodmedicine.org.uk/goodknowledge/

ptsd-assessment-images-memories-information

The two most used self-report measures in UK therapy services are the IES-R and the PCL-5.

PCL-5: This pdf is from Lancashire’s Traumatic Stress service. It

includes a scoring key to help you assess whether your score is mild/ moderate/severe in accordance with the criteria in the DSM5. www.lscft.nhs.uk/media/Publications/Traumatic-Stress-Service/newPCL5.pdf

IES-R: This questionnaire is in both Word and PDF format on the

GoodMedicine website (it is towards the bottom of the page), along with a scoring key. The IES-R has sub-scales for ‘avoidance’, ‘intrusions’, and ‘hyperarousal’ – all key parts of PTSD. goodmedicine.org.uk/goodknowledge/ptsd-assessment-images- memories-information