Summary and conclusions

Behavioural and observational assessment measures constitute a clinically useful subgroup of methods. The special value of direct observation methods is that they have high validity with respect to day-to-day functioning. The value of rating and questionnaire methods is that they can be used by a variety of assessors who do not need to be qualified mental health professionals—although the need for at least some training in rating methods should not be overlooked. They can be presented in very short versions therefore making minimal demands on assessors, and so can lead to high levels of compliance. Since they can be used by patients, they can themselves be tools to increase engagement and to give patients direct feedback about their own current state. However, their very simplicity may mask the need for care in their construction, and caution in interpreting data arising from their use.

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