Validity

Employed for either research or clinical purposes, a psychological test must have empirically documented validity. This ensures that the test results are factual; that is, the score is an accurate description of the individual. Validity has several facets. Construct validity means that the psychological processes claimed to be measured are, in fact, what are being assessed. For instance, it is essential to be confident that a poor score on a neuropsychological test of memory capacity is due to a central nervous system (CNS) disorder and is not spurious. Hence, utility of a particular instrument depends on its capacity to evaluate accurately the process intended to be measured.

In addition, psychological measures should have predictive validity; that is, the processes evaluated by the test should yield scores that predict the individual's behavior. For example, low scores on tests of educational aptitude should portend academic underachievement. High scores on tests of anxiety should predict avoidant social behavior. These predictions should be oriented to meaningful and specific domains of functioning, such as the person's potential to respond to a particular type of treatment or hold a certain type of job. Predictive validity is therefore an essential aspect of a comprehensive assessment, because it yields information that guides selection of the particular type of rehabilitation program that in turn impacts on long-term prognosis.

Finally, it should be noted that psychological testing is warranted only when the obtained data have incremental validity; that is, the test should yield information beyond what can be acquired from informal interviewing or casual observation. It is pointless to measure depression if the patient readily provides a self-report of symptoms. Psychometric procedures are most prudently utilized in situations where the objectivity of measurement yields information that is either too complex or too subtle to be obtained from observation or ordinary interaction with the client. Because it is both expensive and labor-intensive, clinicians should not request a psychological evaluation to merely confirm a clinical impression.

Getting to Know Anxiety

Getting to Know Anxiety

Stop Letting Anxiety Rule Your Life And Take Back The Control You Desire Right Now! You don't have to keep letting your anxiety disorder run your life. You can take back your inner power and change your life for the better starting today! In order to have control of a thing, you first must understand it. And that is what this handy little guide will help you do. Understand this illness for what it is. And, what it isn't.

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