Treatment Measure:

This may also be referred to as the treatment variable. This is the amount of a specific treatment administered to a client.

Converting psychological objects (goals, attitudes, feelings, traits or behavior) into observable situations is termed psychometry. That is, to make statements so that they can be used to determine to what degree a psychological object is present. Such statements will now be referred to as items and tests (a test being one or more items).

Items are designed to indicate some quantity of the psychological object. There are two ways which this can be done: The first is that quantification be contained in the statement itself. The second is that the statement contain only the psychological object and quantifying statement or numbers follow the stem. Which of these methods you choose will depend upon your needs, the nature of your statements and the validity in the various methods.

The following are examples of four popular methods which includes instructions and three sample items:

Method #1 (Likert Type)

This scale has been prepared so that you indicate how you feel. Please respond to every item. In each case, draw a circle around the letter which represents your own reaction as follows:

SA if you strongly agree with the statement
A if you agree but not as strongly
N if you are neutral
D if you disagree but not too strongly
SD if you strongly disagree

Remember the only correct answer is the one which actually represents how you feel.

1. I am nervous.                               SA A N D SD

2. I get nervous easily.                     SA A N D SD

3. Not many things bother me.         SA A N D SD

Method #2 (Modified Likert)


Instructions would be the same as in Method #1. Items would change as follows:

1. I am nervous                  Never   Infrequently    Now and Then    Often    Always

2. I get nervous easily        Never    Infrequently    Now and Then    Often    Always

3. Things bother me.          Never    Infrequently    Now and Then    Often    Always

Method #3 (Thurstone)

Below is a series of statements about your feelings. Read each statement and put a check beside the statement that reflects how you feel.

1. I sometimes get nervous.

2. Lots of things bother me.

3. Nothing bothers me.

Method #14 (Semantic Differential)

This scale has been prepared so that you can indicate how you feel. There are pairs of words with opposite meanings. Place a check in the blank closet to the word that indicates your feelings. If you are neutral, place a check in the middle blank.

1. Anxious ____  ____  ____  ____  ____  ____  ____  ____  ____Calm

2. Excited  ____  ____  ____  ____  ____  ____  ____  ____  ____ Indifferent

3. Elated   ____  ____  ____  ____  ____  ____  ____  ____  ____  Depressed

Method I (Likert) could also be changed to true or false. That is, either it did occur or it did not.

The Likert method is recommended as a standard; the other methods are for special cases. The problem with true-false formats (and consequently the check-list) is that it produces dichotomous data and in a sense is a forced-choice item. Statistical power is lost in dichotomous data, and some participants indicate that they cannot respond with their true feelings on forced-choice items. The semantic differential is essentially like the Likert method but takes up more room on a page and takes a lot more time to write items. The problem with ranking is that many respondents answer such items incorrectly by responding to them like a checklist or leaving out some of the response set. (Don't ever use the ranking method.)

The following discussion is written for the beginner in writing items. It is written to give hints about making goals into criterion variables.

State the goals so that it appears that two or more people could agree when the target person had reached the goal. This can later be tested as reliability but at present the interest is in writing items so don't be too much of a stickler. For example, the goal may be for a psychiatric patient to stop talking to himself. Suppose that the client finds out that this is the goal and talks to himself only when he is not being observed. It should be noted that the behavior has not stopped, but it will not be measured accurately. On the other hand, if the goal is for the person not to talk to himself when someone else is present, the measure is accurate. Such issues should be clarified.

In another example, the goal may for a client to be "free from anxiety." The problem is to make such a goal into a statement in which it could be determined by two or more people that the person was "free of anxiety." The best way is to make as many statements as possible about anxiety and then test the reliability of such statements. Some such statements might be: (1) Do his/her hands shake? (2) Will s/he go out on his/her own? (3) Is s/he fearful? (4) Is s/he afraid of people? etc.

The main point to be made here is that the statement must describe a situation in which some quantitative judgement can be made as to whether the client has reached the goal or not.
The next step is to make as many statements as are feasible to include all the goals which you have stated. The following are some informal rules for writing items for measurement. They are not absolute rules, but the more of them that are broken, the less likely is the reliability of the item. Apply these rules to the statements which you make about the goals.

1. Avoid statements that may be interpreted in more than one way.

2. Avoid statements that are irrelevant to the psychological object under consideration.

3. Avoid statements that refer to the past rather than the present (unless it is specifically the past you are concerned about).

4. Avoid statements that are likely to be endorsed by almost everyone or almost nobody.

5. Select statements that are believed to cover the range of the goal or goals you have outlined.

6. Keep the language of the statements simple, clear, and direct.

7. Statements should be short, rarely exceeding 12 words.

8. Each statement should contain only one complete thought.

9. Statements containing universals such as all, always, none or never, often introduce ambiguity and should be avoided.

10. Such words as only, just, merely, and others of a similar nature should be used with care and moderation in writing statements.

11. Whenever possible statements should be in the form of simple sentences rather than in the form of compound and complex sentences.
12. Avoid the use of words that may not be understood by those who will be using the scale.

13. Avoid the use of double negatives.

  Writing Items For Psychological Testss

Two types of Measures: Outcome and Treatment

Outcome or Criterion Measure:

Two synonyms for this concept are outcome measure and criterion variable. It is the measure of the amount of some mental health. It could be a single question, a questionnaire, a multi dimensional questionnaire or an extensive analysis.