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Professional Psychology: Research and Practice - Vol 48, Iss 2

Professional Psychology: Research and Practice publishes articles on the application of psychology, including the scientific underpinnings of the profession of psychology.

Last Build Date: Thu, 25 May 2017 06:00:26 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association

Contemporary assessment practices Part 1: General and diversity issues.


This article introduces Part 1 of a two-part special section on contemporary assessment. Part 1 focuses on general and diversity issues in assessment. The large number and broad range of manuscripts submitted for publication in this special section on assessment supports the conclusion that psychological assessment continues to be a defining competency and a frequent activity of practicing psychologists. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Assessment practices of professional psychologists: Results of a national survey.


Psychological assessment has been a defining area of practice, training, and research for professional psychologists since the field’s inception. We conducted the present survey of professional psychologists as a follow-up to surveys conducted by the American Psychological Association in the 1990s to describe (a) current psychological assessment practices and trends; (b) demographic factors and beliefs associated with assessment use; (c) barriers discouraging assessment use; and (d) factors that may encourage psychologists to make assessments a larger part of their practices. Our survey supports the common perception that, in general, assessment represents a smaller part of the practices of professional psychologists than before managed care; however, for psychologists in some specialty areas and settings (e.g., forensic psychology, inpatient settings), assessment represents a significant portion of their work. Moreover, the large majority of psychologists believe psychological assessment is a valuable aid in making diagnostic decisions and treatment recommendations. Many psychologists identify that greater coverage by third-party payers, as well as having access to less costly assessment instruments, would enable greater use of assessment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Psychological assessment with the DSM–5 Alternative Model for Personality Disorders: Tradition and innovation.


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM–5) Section III Alternative Model for Personality Disorders (AMPD; APA, 2013) represents an innovative system for simultaneous psychiatric classification and psychological assessment of personality disorders (PD). The AMPD combines major paradigms of personality assessment and provides an original, heuristic, flexible, and practical framework that enriches clinical thinking and practice. Origins, emerging research, and clinical application of the AMPD for diagnosis and psychological assessment are reviewed. The AMPD integrates assessment and research traditions, facilitates case conceptualization, is easy to learn and use, and assists in providing patient feedback. New as well as existing tests and psychometric methods may be used to operationalize the AMPD for clinical assessments. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Psychological assessment as an intervention with couples: Single case application of collaborative techniques in clinical practice.


Psychological assessment tools yield valid, reliable, and useful data for clinical psychologists. Nonetheless, clients often lack appreciation of their utility to understand and cope with their daily life challenges. Collaborative/Therapeutic Assessment (C/TA) models have shown that assessment results might be used as brief therapeutic interventions through collaboratively sharing testing data with clients. In this article, we focused on two collaborative techniques, namely intervention sessions and summary sessions, as potentially able to increase assessment utility for clients, providing them with life-changing, experience-grounded feedback based on assessment results. The application of these techniques to a clinical case with a couple suggested that both techniques might be beneficially applied to enhance clients’ empathy and compassion, to promote new insights about life challenges, and to sustain the development of new narratives and life meanings. C/TA techniques appear to be effective brief therapeutic interventions and their application in everyday assessment practice may be warranted. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Suicide risk assessment: What psychologists should know.


Recent increases in death by suicide in the United States have led to national calls for improvements in how suicide risk screening and assessments are conducted. As health care providers and leaders in mental health practice, psychologists should be immersed in cutting edge education and training in suicide assessment. In this article, we describe the limits of the traditional medical model approach and review modern developments in suicide risk assessment. Six important shifts in how contemporary psychologists formulate and approach suicide assessment are reviewed. These include: (a) acknowledgment that suicide risk factors are not especially helpful to psychologist-practitioners; (b) a movement away from medical model formulations and toward social constructionist and collaborative orientations; (c) progress in theoretical knowledge pertaining to suicidal individuals; (d) recognition that the clinical encounter and comprehensive suicide assessment interviews are essential to developing and maintaining a therapeutic relationship; (e) advancements in how clinicians question patients about suicide ideation; and (f) methods for monitoring suicide ideation over time. Psychologists who understand and apply these approaches to suicide risk assessment will be more capable of conducting competent suicide assessment and treatment and thereby contribute to national suicide prevention efforts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Does the timing of suicide risk assessments influence ratings of risk severity?


Clinicians are often tasked with identifying and managing patients who are at risk for suicide. Therefore, greater understanding of factors that impact the efficacy of suicide risk assessments (SRAs) are of critical importance. One potential factor that may affect assessments of risk severity is the timing of the evaluation during clinical interview. Given that some patients are reluctant to disclose suicide-related symptoms, it is possible that asking about suicide at the beginning of an interview elicits more false negatives. It is also possible that if risk assessments are conducted in a manner that is encouraging to the patient, timing does not significantly impact patient report. This study examined whether SRA timing within an initial intake interview affects risk severity ratings. Adult psychiatric outpatients (N = 169) were randomly assigned to receive an SRA during the beginning or middle of a 1-hr intake. We failed to find a significant difference in suicide risk ratings between those who were evaluated at the beginning compared to the middle of intake (14% vs. 15% rated at elevated risk). Findings were not moderated by age, gender, or attempt history. Our results provide preliminary evidence that the timing of SRA may not impact risk severity ratings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Moving from culturally biased to culturally responsive assessment practices in low-resource, multicultural settings.


Ensuring that psychological assessments are appropriate and fair for clients from diverse cultures is challenging for most practitioners. When this challenge occurs in a poorly resourced setting against a background of social inequality, as is often the case in the South African context, practitioners need to be highly resourceful, as well as culturally sensitive and ethically aware. This article provides tangible suggestions to empower practitioners to address complex issues ranging from multilingualism, English-language proficiency, and multiculturalism to limited material and human resources. Emic assessments remain the gold standard for such contexts but are often not possible. Hence the article describes several approaches that represent departures from traditional methods of assessment, moving more toward narrative and contextual approaches to assessment. In doing so, the article advocates the creation of a set of guidelines for multicultural practice that can assist practitioners and researchers who work in low-resource, multicultural settings. Recommendations are provided in this regard. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Forensic assessment with Hispanic and limited English-proficient Hispanic evaluees: A survey of practice.


Given the changing demographics in the United States, most forensic evaluators will likely be asked to evaluate someone of Hispanic background, including those who are limited English-proficient (LEP). Little is known about forensic practice with these evaluees, including evaluations of competency to stand trial (CST) and criminal responsibility (CR). The authors recruited psychologists from 3 professional organizations via email and surveyed them about their experience with Hispanic and LEP-Hispanic forensic evaluees. Of the 79 respondents, about 90% reported assessing at least 1 English-speaking Hispanic evaluee, whereas about 55% reported assessing at least 1 LEP-Hispanic evaluee. Forty respondents reported willingness to evaluate LEP-Hispanic individuals, but only 8 indicated they are able to conduct forensic interviews in Spanish themselves. A subset reported using ad hoc interpreters (e.g., bilingual staff member, client family member, correctional officer), using interpreters to administer psychological testing or translating English-language tests in Spanish on their own. In addition, respondents reported lower test usage with LEP-Hispanic than with Caucasian/European American or English-speaking Hispanic evaluees in CST or CR evaluations. Finally, most respondents reported they consider the evaluee’s acculturative status, but only 2 reported using acculturation measures. Results suggest that although some common practices are consistent with guidelines (e.g., taking acculturation into account), other practices (e.g., using ad hoc interpreters) are not. The authors offer suggestions for future research as well as clinical practice and training. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

A mixed-method study of psychologists’ use of multicultural assessment.


Despite practice guidelines and ethical standards that provide imperatives for clinicians to utilize multicultural assessment (MCA), little is known about how the average psychologist actually conducts MCA. The current mixed-method study was designed to investigate clinicians’ training and use of MCA practice strategies. Participants were 239 (107 male, 131 female, 1 other gender) licensed psychologists residing in the United States and Canada who were recruited from the American Psychological Association practice directory to complete an online survey. Quantitative items on the survey included questions about the number and utility of MCA-related graduate courses and supervision experiences, and strategies and frameworks used when conducting MCA. Open-ended questions provided expansion about factors that were helpful and not helpful in graduate training experiences. Findings suggested that only 75% of participants had taken a course that included MCA-related content, but almost all of those participants found the material they learned to be helpful. Graduate courses with MCA-related content were perceived as more helpful than graduate supervision, and the most helpful aspects of courses and supervision were related to increasing knowledge and awareness about MCA. Almost 40% of the sample reported using no theory or framework for conducting MCA, and participants differed in their use of MCA strategies. Findings are discussed in relation to the training and continuing education of clinicians and future directions for research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)