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The utility of quality of life (QoL) as an outcome measure in youth-specific primary mental health care settings has yet to be determined. We aimed to determine: (i) whether heterogeneity on individual items of a QoL measure could be used to identify distinct groups of help-seeking young people; and (ii) the validity of these groups based on having clinically meaningful differences in demographic and clinical characteristics.
Young people, at their first presentation to one of five primary mental health services, completed a range of questionnaires, including the Assessment of Quality of Life–6 dimensions adolescent version (AQoL-6D). Latent class analysis (LCA) and multivariate multinomial logistic regression were used to define classes based on AQoL-6D and determine demographic and clinical characteristics associated with class membership.
1107 young people (12–25 years) participated. Four groups were identified: (i) no-to-mild impairment in QoL; (ii) moderate impairment across dimensions but especially mental health and coping; (iii) moderate impairment across dimensions but especially on the pain dimension; and (iv) poor QoL across all dimensions along with a greater likelihood of complex and severe clinical presentations. Differences between groups were observed with respect to demographic and clinical features.
Adding multi-attribute utility instruments such as the AQoL-6D to routine data collection in mental health services might generate insights into the care needs of young people beyond reducing psychological distress and promoting symptom recovery. In young people with impairments across all QoL dimensions, the need for a holistic and personalised approach to treatment and recovery is heightened.
A disproportionate number of people with mental ill-health experience social exclusion. Appropriate measurement tools are required to progress opportunities to improve social inclusion. We have developed a novel measure, the Filia Social Inclusion Measure (F-SIM). Here we aimed to present a more concise, easy-to-use form, while retaining its measurement integrity by (i) refining the F-SIM using traditional and contemporary item-reduction techniques; and (ii) testing the psychometric properties of the reduced measure.
Five hundred and six participants completed the F-SIM, younger and older groups of people with serious mental illness (including psychosis, mood, anxiety disorders) and same-aged community counterparts. The F-SIM was completed at baseline and 2-week follow-up, alongside other measures (including social inclusion, loneliness). The F-SIM was refined using multidimensional scaling network analysis, confirmatory factor analysis and item response theory. The psychometric evaluation included assessment of dimensionality, internal consistency, test–retest reliability, discriminant ability and construct validity.
The F-SIM was reduced from 135-items to 16; with 4-items in each domain of housing and neighbourhood, finances, employment and education and social participation and relationships. Psychometric properties were sound, including strong internal consistency within domains (all α > 0.85) and excellent overall (α = 0.92). Test–retest reliability was also high (γ = 0.90). Differences between groups were observed; clinical subgroups consistently reported lower levels of social inclusion compared to community counterparts.
The F-SIM16 is a sound, reliable, brief self-report measure of social inclusion suitable for use in clinical and research settings. It has the potential to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, and aid in fostering targeted and personalised needs-based care.
Subjective cognitive difficulties are common in mental illness and have a negative impact on role functioning. Little is understood about subjective cognition and the longitudinal relationship with depression and anxiety symptoms in young people.
To examine the relationship between changes in levels of depression and anxiety and changes in subjective cognitive functioning over 3 months in help-seeking youth.
This was a cohort study of 656 youth aged 12–25 years attending Australian headspace primary mental health services. Subjective changes in cognitive functioning (rated as better, same, worse) reported after 3 months of treatment was assessed using the Neuropsychological Symptom Self-Report. Multivariate multinomial logistic regression analysis was conducted to evaluate the impact of baseline levels of and changes in depression (nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire; PHQ9) and anxiety symptoms (seven-item Generalised Anxiety Disorder scale; GAD7) on changes in subjective cognitive function at follow-up while controlling for covariates.
With a one-point reduction in PHQ9 at follow-up, there was an estimated 11–18% increase in ratings of better subjective cognitive functioning at follow-up, relative to stable cognitive functioning. A one-point increase in PHQ9 from baseline to follow-up was associated with 7–14% increase in ratings of worse subjective cognitive functioning over 3 months, relative to stable cognitive functioning. A similar attenuated pattern of findings was observed for the GAD7.
A clear association exists between subjective cognitive functioning outcomes and changes in self-reported severity of affective symptoms in young people over the first 3 months of treatment. Understanding the timing and mechanisms of these associations is needed to tailor treatment.
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