, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 467-481
Date: 21 Nov 2006

Life mapping: a ‘Therapeutic Document’ approach to needs assessment

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Abstract

This study tested the effectiveness of The Life Map designed by the authors for holistic needs assessment for the promotion of mental health based on the World Health Organisation’s six Quality of Life domains (1985). Tests were conducted of test–retest reliability and validity (criterion, discriminant, construct and concurrent) compared with an existing validated needs assessment, the Camberwell Assessment of Needs Inventory CAN-R. For main analyses, 43 mental health service users (SUs) were age–sex matched with 43 of non-service users (non-SUs). The Life Map significantly discriminated between these two study groups. Non-parametric correlations in each group showed significant relationship between a general quality of life question and the ‘well-being’ and the ‘influence over’ scores in each of the six domains. Consistent significant agreement was found in test–retests conducted 2 weeks apart. Qualitative data in the Life Map was able to conceptualise the quantitative Life Map scores. This makes the Life Map a tool to improve communication between user and care-provider using a reliable felt and expressed needs assessment that empowers the service user with a ‘voice’ and empowers the care-provider with the capacity to compare aggregated needs between localities and for change over time. The limitations of this study, the Life Map’s utility to facilitate meeting Standards 1 and 2 of the UK’s National Service Framework for adult mental health and future directions are discussed.