Use of the Psychosocial Index: A Sensitive Tool in Research and Practice

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Abstract

Background:

The Psychosocial Index (PSI) is a self-rating scale based on clinimetric principles that is simple to use in a busy clinical setting. It can be integrated by observer-rated clinical judgment, providing a first-line, comprehensive assessment of stress, well-being, distress, illness behavior, and quality of life. By calculation of scores, it can be used for conventional psychological measurements. Its clinical applications and clinimetric properties are reviewed. The present version of the PSI has been slightly revised. In addition, a modified version for use in adolescents and young adults (PSI-Young; PSI-Y) is also included.

Methods:

Articles that involved the use of the PSI were identified by searching the Web of Science database from 1998 to February 2016 and by a manual search of the literature.

Results:

A total of 20 studies reporting results from the use of PSI were included. The PSI has been employed in various clinical populations in different countries and showed high sensitivity. It significantly discriminated varying degrees of psychosocial impairment in different populations. When subjects were identified by categorical criteria (presence of allostatic overload, psychosomatic syndromes, psychiatric disorders), the PSI scores were significantly different across subgroups.

Conclusions:

In clinical practice, scanning the list of symptoms allows clinicians to assess rapidly which symptoms and problems are perceived as most troublesome. In research settings, the use of scores makes the PSI a valid and sensitive tool in differentiating levels of psychosocial variables among groups.

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