The clinimetric approach to clinical psychology.

Elena Tomba, Giovanni Andrea Fava


Assessment in clinical psychology did not initially encompass the quantification of psychopathological phenomena. Acute but irreproducible long descriptions were the way of communicating clinical observations among researchers (Faravelli, 2004).In the late 50s and early 60s the need for a reaction to the current of thought, prevalent at that time, that, inspired by phenomenology and psychoanalysis, maintained subjectivity and irreproducibility as the basic principles of psychopathology, came out (Ibidem). The development of more objective ways of assessment of the severity and the change in psychological facts emerged (Ibidem). Since then, modern clinical psychology has therefore placed all itsemphasis on inter-clinician reliability and the assessment of clinical changes started to rely on instruments which have characteristics of validity and reliability (Bech, 1993). In its quest for validity and reliability of assessment, research has rested on the clinically shaky grounds of psychometric theory (Ibidem) . The development of psychometrics, however, had taken place outside of the clinical field, mainly for measuring psychological phenomena or educational achievements in the educational and social areas (Rust & Golombok, 1989). Since the phenomena under observation in the development of psychometric principles were not clinical, it is not surprising that they could not be automatically adjusted to clinical psychology (Fava, Ruini, & Rafanelli, 2004).
We will discuss the inadequacies of the psychometric model in the clinical setting and the need of its supplementation with another conceptual  framework, clinimetrics.

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Rivista di Psicologia Clinica. Teoria e metodi dell'intervento

Rivista Telematica a Carattere Scientifico Registrazione presso il Tribunale civile di Roma (n.149/2006 del 17/03/2006)

ISSN 1828-9363