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This book provides an overview of the research related to psychological assessment across South Africa. The thirty-six chapters provide a combination of psychometric theory and practical assessment applications in order to combine the currently disparate research that has been conducted locally in this field. Existing South African texts on psychological assessment are predominantly academic textbooks that explain psychometric theory and provide brief descriptions of a few testing instruments. Psychological Assessment in South Africa provides in-depth coverage of a range of areas within the broad field of psychological assessment, including research conducted with various psychological instruments. The chapters critically interrogate the current Eurocentric and Western cultural hegemonic practices that dominate the field of psychological assessment. The book therefore has the potential to function both as an academic text for graduate students, as well as a specialist resource for professionals, including psychologists, psychometrists, remedial teachers and human resource practitioners.
We have included a chapter on complex interventions in this section because we feel it is necessary to introduce the subject before the fuller accounts in Part III of this book. Evidence is often difficult to obtain in psychiatry, not just because the collection of data involves harder work than in many other subjects but also because so many of our interventions are complex ones, and the interpretation of data from them so much more difficult than those of simple interventions. We hope it helps making interpretations here a little more cautious. There is also an important element of effectiveness included in this chapter; the evaluation of different types of service delivery in psychiatry, and these too usually represent very complex interventions.
A complex intervention is easily understood at one level. According to Samuel Johnson, the originator of the first Dictionary of English, a complex intervention is ‘an agency between antecedents and consecutives including many particulars’, and this is as good a definition as any. In the evaluation of treatment, complex interventions are the most difficult one has to undertake. Let me give one example to make it clear that we are not exaggerating. We do not yet have good evidence of the effectiveness of a treatment that has been with us for over 60 years, collectively called ‘therapeutic communities’.
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