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25-08-2018 | Original Paper | Uitgave 12/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 12/2018

Adolescents’ Perceptions of Post-treatment Change: Making Progress Toward a Developmentally-Sensitive Evaluation Process

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 12/2018
Tally Moses, Emily J. Claypool


The evaluation of mental health services is an important tool for understanding treatment efficacy, aswell as for engaging clients in their treatment. Because adolescents are often more reluctant consumers ofmental health services relative to adults, progress monitoring and evaluation may be particularly importantwith these clients. Standardized assessment tools are useful, but the use of open-ended questionsaddressing perceived change and progress made toward recovery is likely to yield important information ina developmentally appropriate way. This mixed-method exploratory study captured adolescents’ (N=74)perceptions of their mental health status in their own words, as well as specific changes they have noted intheir mental health at six months following a brief psychiatric hospitalization. Adolescents’ qualitativedescriptions of their mental health status were classified: “improved,” “worse,” “mixed,” and “same.” Theseoutcome classifications corresponded well with baseline and follow-up scores on several standardizedmeasures of mental health and wellbeing. In articulating their perceptions of change over time, participantsdiscussed symptoms, interpersonal relationships, coping, and future orientation. Our findings revealadolescents’ perspectives on recovery and well-being, and suggest ways that treatment evaluation can beadapted to better meet the developmental needs of young people.

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