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Scientific theories can be viewed as attempts to explain phenomena by showing how they would arise, if certain assumptions concerning the structure of the world were true. Such theories invariably involve a reference to theoretical entities and attributes. Theoretical attributes include such things as electrical charge and distance in physics, inclusive fitness and selective pressure in biology, brain activity and anatomic structure in neuroscience, and intelligence and developmental stages in psychology. These attributes are not subject to direct observation but require an inferential process by which the researcher infers positions of objects on the attribute on the basis of a set of observations.
To make such inferences, one needs to have an idea of how different observations map on to different positions on the attribute (which, after all, is not itself observable). This requires a measurement model. A measurement model explicates how the structure of theoretical attributes relates to the structure of observations. For instance, a measurement model for temperature may stipulate how the level of mercury in a thermometer is systematically related to temperature, or a measurement model for intelligence may specify how IQ scores are related to general intelligence.
The reliance on a process of measurement and the associated measurement model usually involves a degree of uncertainty; the researcher assumes, but cannot know for sure, that a measurement procedure is appropriate in a given situation.
In order to conceptually define quality of life (QOL) in dementia, the literature on QOL in the elderly population, in chronic disease and in dementia was studied. Dementia is a progressive, age-related, chronic condition and to avoid omissions within the dementia-specific concept of QOL, a broad orientation was the preferred approach in this literature study. Adaptation is a major outcome in studies investigating interventions aimed at improving QOL in chronic conditions, but to date, it has not been used in the definition of QOL. It is argued that adaptation is an important indication of QOL in people with chronic diseases and therefore also in dementia. Some crucial issues in assessing dementia-related QOL that are relevant to clarify the continuing debate on whether QOL, particularly in dementia, can be measured at all, are discussed. Then the following conceptual definition is offered: dementia-specific QOL is the multidimensional evaluation of the person–environment system of the individual, in terms of adaptation to the perceived consequences of the dementia.
Objective: This study tests the hypothesis that integrated family support, in which patients and caregivers are both supported by one professional staff, is more effective in influencing behavior problems and mood of the dementia patient than nonintegrated support, such as psychogeriatric day care only. Design: A quasi-experimental pretest-posttest control group design with matched groups was applied. Setting: Psychogeriatric day-care centers of four community centers and three nursing homes. Participants: Fifty-six dementia patients living at home and their caregivers. Intervention: The patients in the experimental group (n = 33) participated together with their caregivers in an integrated family support program, whereas the patients in the control group (n = 23) received psychogeriatric day care only. Measurements: Behavior problems and mood were observed using standardized behavior observation scales. Results: After 7 months the experimental support program, compared to the regular psychogeriatric day care, showed a large positive effect on the total number of behavior problems (effect size .75), and also specifically on the degree of inactivity (effect size .66) and nonsocial behavior (effect size .61). No effect on mood was found. Conclusions: In influencing the total amount of behavior problems, as well as the degree of inactivity and nonsocial behavior, the integrated family support program proved to be more effective than psychogeriatric day care. Because behavior problems are an important determinant for admission of persons with dementia into a nursing home, integrated family support may contribute to the delay of institutionalization.
The use of DSM-IV based questionnaires in child psychopathology is on the increase. The internal construct validity of a DSM-IV based model of ADHD, CD, ODD, Generalised Anxiety, and Depression was investigated in 11 samples by confirmatory factor analysis. The factorial structure of these syndrome dimensions was supported by the data. However, the model did not meet absolute standards of good model fit. Two sources of error are discussed in detail: multidimensionality of syndrome scales, and the presence of many symptoms that are diagnostically ambiguous with regard to the targeted syndrome dimension. It is argued that measurement precision may be increased by more careful operationalisation of the symptoms in the questionnaire. Additional approaches towards improved conceptualisation of DSM-IV are briefly discussed. A sharper DSM-IV model may improve the accuracy of inferences based on scale scores and provide more precise research findings with regard to relations with variables external to the taxonomy.
Behavioural, cognitive, and affective aspects of social functioning of 107 children with
a chronic illness were studied. The aim of the study was twofold: (1) to describe
peer interaction of children with a chronic illness in comparison with normative data
of healthy children; (2) to examine whether peer interaction was related to the
illness characteristics physical restrictions and pain. Peer interaction was assessed with
measures of social activities (CBCL), parent-reported social skills (CABS), child-reported
social skills (MESSY), social self-esteem (SPPC), and social anxiety (SASK). Results showed
no differences between diagnosis groups, suggesting that the social consequences of chronic
illness are not diagnosis specific. Compared with healthy norms, chronically ill children
reported less aggressive behaviour. The parent-report measures suggested a similar trend.
Children with chronic illness also tended to display more submissive behaviour than healthy
norms, as perceived by their parents. With regard to illness characteristics, both physical
restrictions and pain were associated with restricted social activities, but not with other
measures of social peer interaction. Children who display submissive behaviour and children
who are restricted in their social activities should receive extra attention because they are
especially vulnerable for problems in their social development.
The construct representation of the cross-informant model of the Child Behavior Checklist
(CBCL) and the Teacher Report Form (TRF) was evaluated using confirmatory factor
analysis. Samples were collected in seven different countries. The results are based on 13,226
parent ratings and 8893 teacher ratings. The adequacy of fit for the cross-informant model
was established on the basis of three approaches: conventional rules of fit, simulation, and
comparison with other models. The results indicated that the cross-informant model fits
these data poorly. These results were consistent across countries, informants, and both
clinical and population samples. Since inadequate empirical support for the cross-informant
syndromes and their differentiation was found, the construct validity of these syndrome
dimensions is questioned.
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