Validity and reliability of the Health of the Nation Outcome Scales in psychiatric patients in the community

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Background The Health of the Nation Outcome Scales (HoNOS) have been developed for assessing the effectiveness of mental health services.

Aims To investigate the validity and reliability of the HoNOS in patients in contact with mental health services.

Method Subjects (age range 19-64) came from day hospitals, acute in-patient units and out-patient clinics in general practice. We obtained the opinions of experienced professionals, advocacy groups and patient groups to evaluate consensual and content validity.

Results One hundred patients were assessed using the package of rating scales.Interrater and test-retest reliability were good for some items and poor for others. The HoNOS had good criterion validity: acute in-patients had higher scores than day patients and out-patients. HoNOS also had good concurrent validity, correlating well with other scales. Comments suggested that the HoNOS was a useful and suitable scale for this population but psychotic symptoms and certain social factors were not sufficiently covered.

Conclusion The HoNOS had good validity but variable reliability.It may be better than existing scales because of the wide range of areas which it covers.

Declaration of interest Funded by Hertfordshire Health Agency.

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