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November 1968

Expanding the Framework for Mental Health Program Evaluation

Author Affiliations

Stanford, Calif
From the Department of Psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine, and the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Stanford, Calif (Dr. Fox), and Stanford University School of Medicine and Palo Alto Veterans Administration Hospital (Dr. Kuldau). Dr. Fox is currently at the Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, Calif.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;19(5):538-544. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740110026004

WHILE there is an extensive literature on the evaluation of mental health programs, the state of the art in mental health program evaluation is unsettled, given the various competing criteria and methodologies that have been proposed. In spite of the long history of psychiatry, psychiatric programs remain among the most difficult to evaluate in the field of medicine.

A comprehensive view of a psychiatric program must encompass three related activities that are usually performed by groups of workers who are separated by training, tradition, and organizational barriers. These activities are (1) administrative and financial, involving the assignment of resources, eg, mental health workers, to a program; (2) clinical treatment; and (3) assessment of treatment outcome. In spite of the strong interrelationships, the three factors are usually treated as separate by the social system in which they are imbedded.

This paper offers new

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