Skip to main content
×
×
Home

A Brief Mental Health Outcome Scale: Reliability and Validity of the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF)

  • Steven H. Jones (a1), Graham Thornicroft (a1), Michael Coffey (a1) and Graham Dunn (a2)
Abstract
Background

The Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) is a quick and simple measure of overall psychological disturbance. However, there is little research on the reliability and validity of this measure in severely mentally ill populations.

Method

Multidisciplinary keyworkers assessed 103 patients at monthly intervals over a 6-month period. Overall GAF scores were obtained, with additional separate ratings for symptoms and disability. These were compared with changes in antipsychotic medication and support needs over the same period.

Results

Satisfactory reliability was obtained for total GAF score and for symptom and disability measures, in spite of raters having only one brief training session. All GAF scores were associated with current support needs of patients. Symptom and disability scores were associated with changes in antipsychotic medication in the previous month. Only symptom score was associated with increases in antipsychotic medication at time of rating.

Conclusion

AF proved to be a reliable and, within the limits of the indicators used, a valid measure of psychiatric disturbance in our sample of the severely mentally ill. Differences in relationships between the three GAF scores and medication/support needs indicate the usefulness of obtaining all three scores for monitoring levels and type of psychiatric disturbance in this population.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr Jones, Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, DeCrespigny Park, London SE5 8AF
References
Hide All
American Psychiatric Association (1987) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3rd edn, revised) (DSM–III–R). Washington, DC: APA.
Dunn, G. (1989) The Design and Analysis of Reliability Studies. London: Edward Arnold.
Dunn, G. (1992) The design and analysis of reliability studies. Statistical Methods in Medical Research, 1, 123157.
Dworkin, R. J., Friedman, L. C., Telschow, R. L., et al (1990) The longitudinal use of the Global Assessment scale in multiple rater situations. Community Mental Health Journal, 26, 335344.
Endicott, J., Spitzer, R. L., Fleiss, J. L., et al (1976) The global assessment scale. Archives of General Psychiatry, 33, 766771.
Goldman, H. H., Skodol, A. E. & Lave, T. R. (1992) Revising axis V for DSM–IV: A review of measures of social functioning. American Journal of Psychiatry, 149, 11481156.
Lyness, J. M., Caine, E. D., Conwell, Y., et al (1993) Depressive symptoms, medical illness and functional status in depressed psychiatric patients. American Journal of Psychiatry, 150, 910915.
Phelan, M., Wykes, T. & Goldman, H. (1994) Global functioning scales: A review. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 29, 205211.
Shanks, J. (1994) How are things? Developing outcome measures for mental health services. Health Trends (in press).
Wykes, T. & Sturt, E. (1986) The measurement of social behaviour in psychiatric patients: An assessment of the reliability and validity of SBS. British Journal of Psychiatry, 148, 111.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 104 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 869 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 2nd January 2018 - 26th September 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

A Brief Mental Health Outcome Scale: Reliability and Validity of the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF)

  • Steven H. Jones (a1), Graham Thornicroft (a1), Michael Coffey (a1) and Graham Dunn (a2)
Submit a response

eLetters

No eLetters have been published for this article.

×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *