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Description of questionnaires

The ACORN Outcome Questionnaires are comprised of multiple items (questions) that are designed to address the frequency of problems and symptoms that are commonly reported by individuals seeking mental health and/or substance abuse services. The client (or caretaker, in the case of a child) is asked to report the intensity of problems by indicating how frequently the problems are experienced using a five point Likert scale with the following anchors:

0=Never; 1=Hardly ever; 2-Sometimes; 3=Often; 4=Very often

Some organizations use questionnaires derived from the PHQ9 and GAD7. These use a four point Likert scale with the following anchors:

0=Not at all; 1=Several days; 2-More than half the days; 3=Nearly every day

When the items on the questionnaires are viewed collectively, they provide a measure of global distress which can be used to estimate the overall level of severity for common symptoms and complaints. Virtually all questionnaires used to measure outcomes in mental heatlh care have been shown to correlate with the common factor of global distress. By repeatedly administering the questionnaires, providers and clients can objectively monitor reduction in distress during treatment.

Almost all questionnaires include items designed to assess the working alliance between patient and clinician. Alliance scores are predictive of outcomes and can be used to identify areas of concern the patient may have regarding the treatment process. Completion of alliance items is associated with better outcomes.

The specific items included on a particular questionnaire may vary depending on the purpose of the questionnaire and how frequently it is administered.

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