Research Paper Title
Validating mental health assessment in Kenya using an innovative gold standard.
With the growing burden of mental health disorders worldwide, alongside efforts to expand availability of evidence-based interventions, strategies are needed to ensure accurate identification of individuals suffering from mental disorders.
Efforts to locally validate mental health assessments are of particular value, yet gold-standard clinical validation is costly, time-intensive, and reliant on available professionals.
This study aimed to validate assessment items for mental distress in Kenya, using an innovative gold standard and a combination of culturally adapted and locally developed items.
The mixed-method study drew on surveys and semi-structured interviews, conducted by lay interviewers, with 48 caregivers.
Interviews were used to designate mental health “cases” or “non-cases” based on emotional health problems, identified through a collaborative clinical rating process with local input.
Individual mental health survey items were evaluated for their ability to discriminate between cases and non-cases.
Discriminant survey items included 23 items adapted from existing mental health assessment tools, as well as 6 new items developed for the specific cultural context.
When items were combined into a scale, results showed good psychometric properties.
The use of clinically rated semi-structured interviews provides a promising alternative gold standard that can help address the challenges of conducting diagnostic clinical validation in low-resource settings.
Watson, L>K., Kaiser, B.N., Giusto, A.M., Ayuku, D. & Puffer, E.S. (2020) Validating mental health assessment in Kenya using an innovative gold standard. International Journal of Psychology. 55(3), pp.425-434. doi: 10.1002/ijop.12604. Epub 2019 Jun 17.