Journal Title:  Annals of Clinical Psychiatry | Vol:  20 | Issue:  3 | Year:  2008   
Print ISSN:  1040-1237 | Online ISSN:  1547-3325   

Depressed Patients' Acceptability of the Use of Self-Administered Scales to Measure Outcome in Clinical Practice

Mark Zimmerman MD
Joseph B. McGlinchey PhD

pages: 125 - 129


Background. Self-report questionnaires are a cost-effective option to monitor the outcome of clinical care. Even when using self-report scales, consideration should be given to how much time they take to complete and how burdensome they are perceived to be. In the present report from the Rhode Island Methods to Improve Diagnostic Assessment and Services (MIDAS) project, we compared the acceptability of completing two depression scales—the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Clinically Useful Depression Outcome Scale (CUDOS).

Methods. In the first study, 50 depressed psychiatric outpatients completed the CUDOS and a questionnaire assessing how burdensome it was to complete during the visit. In the second study, a separate sample of 50 depressed outpatients completed the CUDOS and BDI and a measure of scale acceptability.

Results. Almost all patients completed the CUDOS in less than 3 minutes (mean = 102.7 seconds, SD = 42.7) and considered the questionnaire very little or a little burdensome (98.0%, n  = 49). In the second study comparing the CUDOS and the BDI, significantly more patients indicated that the CUDOS took less time to complete and was less of a burden to complete. Nearly three times as many patients indicated that they would prefer to complete the CUDOS in order to monitor the outcome of treatment (40.0% vs. 14.0%, z  = 2.31, p  .05).

Conclusions. A consumer-friendly, reliable, and valid self-administered questionnaire can improve the efficiency of the clinical encounter. The brevity of the CUDOS lends itself to regular administration in clinical practice.