Nonexperimental descriptive studies

The next type of research design included in the Geddes and Harrison (42) typology is that of non-experimental descriptive studies. For the sake of clarity and brevity we shall distinguish two types of descriptive study: structured clinical practice and everyday unstructured clinical practice. TabJeJJ.. compares the key strengths and weaknesses of these two types of descriptive study with those of the other two principal designs discussed above, namely randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental studies.

Table 11 Comparison of the characteristics of four types of clinical research design

An example of a descriptive evaluation design is the South Verona Outcome Study. (62) This is a prospective study which aims to assess the outcome of mental health care. Data from this study have been analysed using a multidimensional perspective and graphical chain models. The latter is a new multivariate method that analyses the relationship between variables conditionally, i.e. it takes the effects of antecedent or intervening variables into account.

Data were collected in the South Verona community-based mental health service. The outcome measures used were standardized assessment of global functioning, clinical symptoms, disability, quality of life, and service satisfaction. Direct costs in the 6-month interval were also assessed. A complex pattern of results emerged. Global functioning, psychopathology, and disability scores at baseline predicted the corresponding scores at 6-month follow-up. Higher psychopathology and poorer functioning at baseline predicted higher costs, and, in turn, costs predicted poorer functioning at follow-up. Outcome indicators polarized in two groups: global functioning, psychopathology, and disability (which were highly correlated with each other), and the dyad satisfaction with services and quality of life. Satisfaction with services was highly related to quality of life and was predicted by low disability and good global functioning. No predictors for quality of life were found. The study concluded that graphical chain models are a powerful tool for exploring the complex relationships between the clinical, social, and economic variables used for the routine evaluation of mental health care.

Funny Wiring Autism

Funny Wiring Autism

Autism is a developmental disorder that manifests itself in early childhood and affects the functioning of the brain, primarily in the areas of social interaction and communication. Children with autism look like other children but do not play or behave like other children. They must struggle daily to cope and connect with the world around them.

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