Young Person’s Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation (YP-CORE) Scale: psychometric properties and utility

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Context & Background

The YP-CORE is a measure of psychological distress and is widely used in mental health and school counselling services. The measure is brief, with just 10 questions and is freely available to use.

Two studies have been conducted which support the use of the YP-CORE by providing information on its validity and reliability. However, the YP-CORE was not widely tested in ‘non-clinical’, or ‘community’ samples of young people i.e. young people not in therapy. Further, longitudinal, or sessional change has not yet been thoroughly explored.

This research comprises two sub-studies:

  1. A school-based study. This intends to provide further support for the use of the YP-CORE by exploring its psychometric properties and sensitivity to change over time in a sample of students. This study will also look at how scores on the YP-CORE are affected by events that happen in a student’s day-to-day life.
  2. A counselling services study. This study intends to provide further support for the use of the YP-CORE by exploring patterns of longitudinal, or sessional change in outcomes in counselling/clinical services.

We are conducting this research to see how well the YP-CORE questionnaire measures mental wellbeing in young people, which is a matter of public interest. We hope that this will be beneficial to the public, as it helps us to better understand how to measure the mental wellbeing.

For further reading about the YP-CORE, see ‘Resources’ at the bottom of this page.


Overview of the research

Research with schools

We have recruited a number of schools for involvement in this research will lasts for six months and requires students to fill in questionnaires on 6 occasions. Students complete questionnaires in the classroom, during school hours, which take approximately 20 minutes on each of the 6 occasions. On the first occasion, students fill in a demographic form (questions about gender, ethnicity, mental health service use etc.), the YP-CORE, two other measures of mental wellbeing and a measure of everyday events and hassles. Students fill in some, if not all, of these measures at weekly intervals for 5 weeks and then again at 6 months following the initial assessment. This study intends to provide further support for the use of the YP-CORE by exploring its psychometric properties and sensitivity to change over time in a sample of students. This study will also look at how scores on the YP-CORE are affected by events that happen in a student’s day-to-day life.

Research with counselling services

We have collaborated with a number of counselling services who have provided us with sessional YP-CORE data. In order to explore patterns of change in this measure, we are analysing itemised YP-CORE outcome data, as well as demographic information, such as age and gender. As well as looking at some more classical psychometric properties of the YP-CORE, such as Cronbach’s alpha and convergent validity, we also intend to employ more novel psychometric methods to explore patterns of longitudinal change in scores on the YP-CORE. We will use growth curve analyses to study change trajectories and predict individual-level change.

Research team

This research is led by Emily Blackshaw, a PhD research student from the University of Roehampton. The research is supervised by Professor Mick Cooper, Dr Gina Pauli and Dr Chris Evans.

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Emily Blackshaw

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Chris Evans

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Mick Cooper

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Gina Pauli

Data protection

The data from this research is processed by the University of Roehampton. The data is protected under GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018. The researcher will retain the anonymised data from this study for a period of at least ten years from the date of any publication. Participants will not be identifiable in any future publications and dissemination of the research. You can read about the University’s Data Protection Policy at www.roehampton.ac.uk/corporate-information. If you underwent a counselling intervention at one of the organisations collaborating in our research, you can view the participant privacy notice here.

If you have any questions about data protection, you can contact the researcher, Emily Blackshaw (blackshe@roehampton.ac.uk; 07843741984). If you would prefer, you can also contact other members of staff at the University, whose contact details are also provided below. You can contact the University’s Data Protection Officer (Alison Bainbridge: a.bainbridge@roehampton.ac.uk; 02083923104) if you have any concerns. If you have any concerns about the University’s handling of personal data, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office at http://ico.org.uk/concerns/.

Concerns/questions

If you have a concern about any aspect of this research or any other queries, please raise this with the researcher, Emily Blackshaw. However, if you would like to speak with someone independent, please contact the Director of Studies (Mick Cooper).

Emily Blackshaw

Email: blackshe@roehampton.ac.uk

Phone: 07843741984

Mick Cooper

Email: mick.cooper@roehampton.ac.uk

Phone: 02083923741

Address: Department of Psychology, University of Roehampton, Whitelands College, Holybourne Avenue, London, SW15 4JD.

Resources

Two studies have been published about the YP-CORE questionnaire:

  • Twigg, E., Barkham, M., Bewick, B. M., Mulhern, B., Connell, J., & Cooper, M. (2009). The Young Person's CORE: Development of a brief outcome measure for young people. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research9(3), 160-168.
  • Twigg, E., Cooper, M., Evans, C., Freire, E., Mellor‐Clark, J., McInnes, B., & Barkham, M. (2016). Acceptability, reliability, referential distributions and sensitivity to change in the Young Person's Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation (YP‐CORE) outcome measure: replication and refinement. Child and Adolescent Mental Health21(2), 115-123.

You can read more about the family of CORE measures here:

  • Evans, C., Mellor-Clark, J., Margison, F., Barkham, M., Audin, K., Connell, J., & McGrath, G. (2000). CORE: Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation. Journal of Mental Health.
  • Barkham, M., Mellor-Clark, J., Connell, J., & Cahill, J. (2006). A core approach to practice-based evidence: A brief history of the origins and applications of the CORE-OM and CORE System. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research6(1), 3-15.
  • Barkham, M., Mellor-Clark, J., & Stiles, W. B. (2015). A CORE approach to progress monitoring and feedback: Enhancing evidence and improving practice. Psychotherapy52(4), 402.

If you are interested in the life events aspect of this research, please see the following resources:

  • Blackshaw, E., Evans, C., & Cooper, M. (2018). When life gets in the way: systematic review of life events, socioeconomic deprivation, and their impact on counselling and psychotherapy with children and adolescents. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research18(2), 143-153.
  • Seminar on life events in counselling and psychotherapy for young people.

Emily Blackshaw regularly updates this webpage with details about the current YP-CORE research project.