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Developing a strength-based adult assessment: Initial item selection

10 December 2004


Effective treatment planning involves establishing goals for the development of competencies, strengths, and resources to assist in the alleviation of symptoms and help solve problems (Masten, 2001). Every client has existing strengths and resources to incorporate into treatment planning. Initial assessments, which provide information for treatment planning, should then include the evaluation of assets, strengths, and potential resources in addition to problems and risks. Although there are a limited number of strength-based assessments that are used with children, there are no comprehensive strength-based assessments that can be used with adults. This study addresses the first step in developing such an assessment instrument by providing an exhaustive list of strengths in adults seeking mental health services, which can be used to construct initial test items. As a result of the data analysis, 105 adult strengths that fit into 8 different categories/domains were provided. The resulting categories/domains were Intrapersonal Traits, Intrapersonal Skills, Interpersonal Strengths, Cognitive Abilities, Support, Spirituality, Psychological Mindedness, and Expectations of Therapy. These strengths can be used in future studies to construct an adult strength-based assessment. Guidelines for the next steps in the development of the assessment are provided.


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