Personalised outcome measurement
: using goals to evidence outcomes that are important to young people in therapeutic mental health settings

  • Jenna Jacob

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


To assess progress in therapeutic settings, routine outcome measures are regularly administered to clients (Carlier et al., 2012). The presented research explores mental health outcomes through personal goal measurement in youth therapeutic settings. The aims of this research are to demonstrate the unique contribution of client-defined outcome measurement, to consider what goals are set in therapeutic settings and to explore the association between goal-based measures and other outcome measures. The research was conducted between 2013 and 2018 and is based on the secondary analyses of routinely collected clinical datasets in the UK. Mixed methods research was used to give careful consideration to the use of the goal content and goal change score data. The key findings include the creation of parent-led, child-led and jointly agreed goal taxonomies, the presentation of a method of analysing aggregate goals in a comparable way to metrics used for standardised measures and evidence to support the hypothesis that goal-based measures capture areas of change which are as yet unexplored. Investigations into the relationships between goal progress and symptomology and impact on daily life, found greater change in goal progress. The first exploration of the psychometric properties of the Goals and Goal-based Outcomes tool (GBO; Law, 2011) provides insight into the reliability of the measure. Challenges of implementation and data analysis are addressed through the research. The findings suggest that goal-based measures may be more sensitive to the type of change that is meaningful to young people, highlighting the importance of ensuring outcomes are client-led. Future work is suggested, which will contribute to the understanding of client-defined measures for evidencing outcomes that are important to young people.
Date of Award29 May 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorJohn Rae (Director of Studies) & Beatrice Allegranti (Co-Supervisor)


  • Goal-based outcomes
  • goals
  • young people
  • mental health
  • outcomes
  • client-defined outcomes

Cite this