Psychological testing and assessment: An introduction to tests and measurement

Psychological testing

The DSM-5 Clinical Cases e-book has provided multiple case-scenarios relating to various psychological and psychiatric conditions relating to various individuals. The paper analyses the case of Irene Upton, a twenty-nine years old elementary teacher who had gone to the psychiatric for extensive consultations regarding her condition. The latter complaint of being “tired” of loneliness, besides that from her medical history it can be observed that she was hospitalized more than once for suicidal attempts and self-cutting, which represents intense, emotional pain, and frustrations. Coherently, the sister confessed to the past traumatic events that Irene was expected to, notably; at the age of thirteen, the father would sexually exploit Irene a “weird” manner. Irene has failed to recall certain activities she undertook while between the ages of seven and thirteen, which would represent the specific loss of memory due to traumatic experiences. The client laments that she does not consume or abuse alcohol or drugs, ideally, during her late teen, Irene experienced a certain shift in her life when she suddenly became more engaged and proactive for in class and co-curriculum activities. Therefore, leading to a successful life both in high school and college and later getting employed to become of the best teachers in her school.

From the excerpt, the one can be observed properly professional interpretation of Irene’s condition, where the privacy and confidentiality of the patient have been upheld through the exclusion of deeming statements that may be unethically interpreted. For instance, the level of impartiality or conflict of interest has been eliminated since there are no comments or reading that advocate any additional information on behalf of the patients there are no sections or comments that illustrates the certain type of advice or personal opinions. Therefore demonstrating a high level of ethical practice since there are no statements that demonstrate any gross misconduct when conducting a patient assessment; the excerpt provides only the necessary information useful for interpretation while excluding the confidentiality and privacy of the patient.


There are multiple techniques and methods, which can be used to conduct a psychological assessment on a given patient in order to accurately diagnose the individual. The paper will describe a battery of these assessments to understand the subject’s condition fully.

A clinical interview is a treatment technique utilized by psychologist and other physicians to document the accurate diagnosis of mental disorders especially the obsessive-compulsory disorder they include the clinical diagnostic interview and structured clinical interviews. The clinical diagnosis involves narrative conversation between the patient and the doctor where the latter asked a series of questions such as “how was your childhood?” “What was school like when growing?” “How was the relationship with your father/mother?” Such question will enable the psychologist to understand the background of the patient better (Andrea, et al., 2018). The structured clinical interview consists of semi-structured interviews that are administered by qualified psychiatrist or psychologists who are knowledgeable with the diagnostic criteria. Some of the questions in this phase will include “how old were you when you began to experience these symptoms?” “What are the main details relating to your compulsion or obsessions?” “How have these compulsions or obsessions influenced your life?” (Cohen, Swerdlik & Phillips, 2016).

The mental state exam entails a series of psychological reviews, which are geared towards understanding the behavior and the psychological state of a person. The latter involves both the subjective description and objective observation by a clinician. Some of the complements of the mental status exams include thought process to ascertain flow of thought; mood and affect, speeches; judgment, insight, cognition, and sensorium, thought content and thought processes of a patient. Each component is designed to understand the mental and physical condition of a given patient.

Intellectual assessment in psychology involves evaluation of a person’s general cognitive capabilities, and intellectual functioning typically referred to as the intelligence quotient. A significant number of psychologist utilize the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV) to conduct the rational assessment, which strives to compute multiple scales of perceptual reasoning, verbal comprehension, processing speed, and working memory (Pavithra, et al., 2016). The primary purpose of the intelligence quotient test is to ascertain the level of rational intelligence in an individual.

The observation of a patient is an important process typically used by the psychologist or other physicians in order to identify and assess incongruities and discrepancies that a patient may fail to disclose. Much of the observation typically involves studying and observing body language, voice tone, body movement, pitch, facial expressions, and subconscious reactions among others. Therefore, utilizing observatory tools enhance the accuracy of the information dispensed by the patient by allowing the psychologist to understand the condition of the patient better. The attention deficit assessment tool involves a series of question answered within a specific timeframe, which will allow the physician to ascertain if a person can be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. The assessment strives to ascertain hyperactivity, impulsivity, concentration level, and self-organization. The assessment tends to understand the mental or environmental reaction of a patient.

Autism spectrum disorder is often diagnosed after an extensive assessment has been conducted on patients there are various conventional tools such as the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R), Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule- Second Edition (ADOS), and parental rating scale. The autism spectrum disorder assessment aims to ascertain the communication skill, social interaction, personal interest, and atypical behavior patterns in an individual (Anastasi, 2014).

Attitude assessment tests are typically used to ascertain a person’s feeling towards people, events, or objects. There are two conventional methods used to measure attitude Likert and Thurston scale which are used to measure specific components. The Thurston scale consists of statements pertaining to specific psychological questions aligned with numerical values, which can be “crossed” to illustrate the favorability of a statement or question.  Alternatively, the psychologist can use the Likert scale to measure attitude; which entails a sum of responses to various statements. The Likert scale entails five major components that include strong disagree; disagree; neither nor disagree; agree, and strongly agree.

Pros and Cons

The clinical assessment method is a valid testing tool for the refereed patients since it strives to understand the main causes or triggers of Irene’s condition furthermore, to ascertain the level of influence or significance her childhood contributes towards her situation. This is similar to the ACE question test proposed method of assessment by the referring physician. One of the major challenges of utilizing the intelligence quotient assessment method is that the latter methods not measure a patients genetic predispositions rather it focus to understand their response to their environment. Hence it would be difficult to ascertain the intrinsic triggers or drivers of a patient such as Irene, who condition is more intrusive. These are similar challenges experienced by the proposed assessment technique of Bayley Scales of Infant Development assessment method.


Anastasi, A. (2014). Psychological testing.

Cohen, R. J., Swerdlik, M. E., & Phillips, S. M. (2016). Psychological testing and assessment: An introduction to tests and measurement. Mayfield Publishing Co.

Pavithra, C., Mangesh Balu, N., & Surya Prakasa, R. (2016). Rapid psychological assessment of depression and its relationship with physical health among urban elderly. Australasian Medical Journal, Vol 9, Iss 7, Pp 211-214 (2016), (7), 211.

Andrea, S., Francesca, S., Ivan, D., Umberto, G., & Giulio, V. (2018). New Perspectives in the Adaptive Assessment of Depression: The ATS-PD Version of the QuEDS. Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 9 (2018)

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