PSYC 353 – Mental Health
- Normative age changes can mimic certain mental disorders
- Normative changes can mask true psychopathology
- Look to nature of relationships as key to understanding psychopathology
o Young – Expanding relationships
o Old – contracting relationships
- Paranoia or health suspicion?
o i.e. not wanting to sit near someone with a cough after hearing about H1N1 on
- Look at cultural differences
- Life-Cycle factors
o Examine behavior in ‘point-of-life’ context
- Cultural influences – should always be considered in evaluation behavior and designing
ways to treat problems
o i.e. coming from a country with fewer human rights or a different set of services
available – immigrants or refugees may experience different emotions
Principles of Multidimensional Assessment
- Elements of assessment
o Measuring, understanding, and predicting behavior
o Gather medical, psychological, and sociocultural information
1. Age and functioning are not linearly related in clinical settings.
a. You can have an 80 year old who can function on their own, without difficulty, but
you may have a 60 year old who cannot function independently
2. Necessary to recognize the influence of comorbidity in clinical settings.
a. When assessing someone, there could be more than one illness occurring that
are affecting their life and altering their symptoms
3. Major task in assessment is to distinguish normal from pathological processes.
4. Clinical gerontologists should emphasize brief assessments. a. Tests should be short, given that older patients tend to get tired quickly –
typically, 1 hour is too long for elderly patients, so 20 or 30 minute tests are
5. Assessment results must emphasize patients’ strengths and weaknesses and treatment.
a. Strengths = resources, so they can outline potential treatments
6. Multiple methods of assessment are optimal.
a. Suggested that if you are to assess someone, you must realize that one test
does not fit all – have other assessments up your sleeve.
Steps in a Multidimensional Assessment
- Minimum Data Set Instrument – used in many parts of Canada as a means of planning
care and treatment for medical and psychological problems.
- Physical health – thorough assessment is essential
- Cognitive Functioning – important to determine extent to which abnormal changes are
discriminated from normative change
o Psychological functioning is assessed through interviews, observations, and tests
- Functional Capacity – entails determining whether adult has difficulty with activities of
o Often look at their ability to use the phone, take medication, and cook food
- Social Factors – ties with one’s social network, content of interactions with members of